Beach Volleyballers Bound for Tokyo as Clancy and Artacho Del Solar Lock in Olympic Selection
Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy will head to their second Olympics, with the pair officially selected for the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo by the Australian Olympic Committee in Brisbane today.
The combination of Kingaroy-born Clancy, Australia’s first Indigenous Olympian in Beach Volleyball, and Artacho del Solar, who moved to Sydney’s northern beaches from Peru with her family aged 11, has become one of the strongest volleyball duos in Australian history.
Fresh off winning the 4-star world tour tournament in Cancun in May this year, and with their bronze in the 2019 World Championships Australia’s best international result in more than a decade, the pair will head to Tokyo full of confidence.
While both Rio Olympians will head to their second Games in Tokyo, it will be their first as a pair after teaming up in 2017.
Ranked five in the world, secured their quota with the top 15 teams securing a spot at Tokyo. Four more Australian pairs are currently aiming to lock in more Tokyo tickets in Thailand at the final men’s and women’s Olympic continental qualifying tournament.
Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman welcomed the athletes to the Olympic Team.
“Congratulations to Mariafe and Taliqua on making their second Olympics,” Mr Chesterman said. “This pair have shown they are world class and I’m sure Australians will be cheering them on from back home.
“Thank you to Volleyball Australia, and the family, friends, coaches and supporters who have helped Taliqua and Mariafe achieve their Tokyo Olympic dream.
“I also want to wish the best to Australia’s other beach volleyballers who are currently in Thailand competing to book their own ticket to Tokyo at the final Olympic qualifying tournament.”
28-year old Clancy said it was surreal to have her spot for Tokyo locked in.
“It’s been such a crazy time so it’s really nice to have this moment to be really present and to celebrate going to a second Olympics,” Clancy said.
“Mariafe and I have known each other we were 12, and it’s awesome now just to see the growth with Mariafe and myself and to be able to come together and create a really awesome team. We have such a special relationship and I’m just so grateful for that special connection that we have and that it translates onto the court.
“Having my mum and aunty here at today’s announcement is special – they’ve been there through the beginning they know what I’ve had to go through in the in the during this time, it’s nice to have them here today and just by my side like they always are.”
Artacho del Solar was thrilled to make her second Games.
“It’s definitely been a long time coming,” she said. “Five years between Olympics even for it’s quite a long time, but we’ve really used to our advantage, we’re ready.
“The connection Taliqua and I have is definitely one of our strengths – it’s just so special we get to go to Tokyo and compete together.”
Today’s announcement takes the number of athletes selected to 277 of an expected 450-480.
The final chance for additional Australian teams to qualify is at the Asian Volleyball Confederation Continental Cup in Thailand, which finishes 27 June.
The Beach Volleyball competition will run from 24 July – 7 August at Shiokaze Park. Find out more about Beach Volleyball at the Olympic Games in the infographic below.