Going for gold at XVII Pacific Games
The beach volleyball competition at the XVII Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands starts tomorrow with two Australian teams going for gold.
Ben Hood (QLD) and D’Artagnan Potts (SA) line up in the men’s event while Jana Milutinovic (SA) and Stefie Fejes (NSW) have been selected for the women’s draw.
Both teams played together at Geelong Beach Volleyfest earlier this month, where they both finished with silver medals in the opening round of the 2023/24 Australian Beach Volleyball Tour.
The Pacific Games will mark the third straight tournament Hood and Potts have played together after they also teamed up at the Under 21 World Championships in early November.
“Our game’s just getting better so hopefully we can bring our best in that tournament,” said Hood. “I’m really excited to go to a country I’ve never been to.
“Playing for Australia in a multi-sport event is really exciting. I’m really looking forward to it.”
With 75 athletes representing Australia across eight different sports, Potts said the Pacific Games will make for a unique tournament environment.
“I think it will be a really interesting experience,” he said. “Just being there and seeing all the other athletes from Australia and all the different sports will be a really amazing experience.”
Fejes and Milutinovic have formed a formidable combination this year, finishing runners-up at the Australian Championships in March and winning a Beach Pro Tour Futures event in April.
Milutinovic said they have headed to Honiara with the goal of finishing on top.
“Definitely aiming for a gold medal,” she said. “Different teams, different styles of play so we’re kind of excited to experience that.”
Following their national Tour event in Geelong, Fejes said that despite not combining much in recent months, they had now laid a solid platform ahead of this week.
“We hadn’t played together in a while,” said Fejes. “It was really good to explore some stuff this week. Every game we learn something new which is awesome.”
Pool matches will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, Round of 12 and Quarter-Finals on Thursday, Semis on Friday and Medal Matches on Saturday.
At the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa, Tim Dickson and Marcus Ferguson took gold in the men’s event, Australia’s only beach volleyball medal to date at the Pacific Games.
The 2023 Pacific Games are being streamed live via SBS On Demand.
XVII Pacific Games – Beach Volleyball
Wednesday 29 November to Saturday 2 December 2023
SIFF Academy Beach Courts, Honiara SOL
Men’s Pool B – Ben Hood/D’Artagnan Potts (AUS)
Tue 28 Nov 3:30pm AEDT v Mathieu Hnassil/Rene Waneux (NCL)
Wed 29 Nov 11am AEDT v Patrick Vanai/Paino Moleana (WLF)
Wed 29 Nov 6pm AEDT v Wayne Fisher/Solimailagi Masi Valentine (FIJ)
Women’s Pool B – Jana Milutinovic/Stefie Fejes (AUS)
Tue 28 Nov 8pm AEDT v Anastasia Vaikehu Teikhuavanaka/Lanahei Taouaitahuata (PLY)
Wed 29 Nov 1:30pm AEDT v Emalini Toleafoa/Fofogaolefua Luamanuvae