Beach Pro Tour continues in India
Three Australian teams have headed from Mexico to India this week as they move on from the Beach Volleyball World Championships to play the Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in Goa.
The Aussie charge is headed by Thomas Hodges and Zac Schubert who are coming off a top 10 finish at the World Championships in their first attempt.
The pair enter the Challenge tournament as second seeds and are hoping to emulate their performance earlier in the year in Latvia when they took out their first Beach Pro Tour title.
The following week the pair took out the Asian Championships with Schubert saying the duo are familiar with turning around strong performances from week-to-week.
“Hodgey and myself aren’t afraid of going back-to-back events,” said Schubert. “We’re going to spend 30 weeks on the road by the end of the year.
“As an athlete you’re always hungry for more.”
Hodges said that over the past month the team has strengthened its combination and will be striving for more success in India.
“As a team, we really like to focus on our process, so I think to continue the improvement and what we’ve built on these last three weeks on tour, from when we were at a training camp in Italy and the Elite16 in Paris, then the World Champs, we’ve been continually making steps forward,” said Hodges.
“I think to put that out on the court again [in Goa] and keep improving, the results will take care of themselves if we’re able to do that.”
Lining up in the qualifying rounds will be Mark Nicolaidis and Izac Carracher who also featured at the World Championships, along with Matthew Abela and Tim Gregory.
Seeded third in the qualification bracket, Nicolaidis and Carracher have their eyes firmly set on winning their first two matches to proceed to the main draw.
Nicolaidis said as the year has gone on, the pair have become accustomed to moving from continent to continent as they look to move their way up the global standings.
“Last year was our first year of doing it, but coming from Australia it’s just what you have to do so we get used to it,” said Nicolaidis.
With ranking points essential on the path to potential Olympic qualification, Carracher said the team will be looking to make their mark in Goa.
“We probably don’t get to compete in as many events as we’d like to at the Elite16 level so we’ve got to take the opportunities when we get the chances,” he said. “We need to make the most of every single Challenge event.
“This is a Challenge event and the points opportunity is huge. Winning is the equivalent of the round of 16 at World Championships.”
Carracher said the team has some strong competition opportunities over the coming months.
“Not many of the European teams like coming to Asia with the conditions that we expect, so it will be a really good opportunity for us to capitalise on some points and hopefully go really deep.”
Goa is one of the final stops on the Beach Pro Tour before the Futures event takes place in Geelong on 22-26 November as part of Beach Volleyfest.