MCHUGH & BURNETT OFF TO WINNING START AT BIRMINGHAM COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Australia’s men’s beach volleyball team have kicked off their Birmingham Commonwealth Games campaign strongly with 2-0 win over the Maldives.
Packed crowds were a welcomed addition for the teams, with the Commonwealth Games one of the first major international beach volleyball tournaments to have large numbers of spectators since the COVID pandemic.
Veteran of the sport Chris McHugh returns to the Commonwealth Games as the reigning gold medal champion and looking to once again stand on top of the podium.
Since he claimed the gold medal at Gold Coast 2018, McHugh says the level of competition has lifted among the Commonwealth nations, which is set to bring about exciting beach volleyball over the next 10 days.
“It’s really exciting to see the progress and how much the sport has grown since the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“It’s the first time we have played in front of such a big crowd since the Covid pandemic, so you just have to try to adjust, communicate over the noise but also use those great feelings you get playing in front of a crowd.
“We were a bit up and down in that game but I think that is always the case with the first game nerves. We just have to continue to focus on what happens on our side of the court and on our game plan,” he said.
For 24 year old Paul Burnett, the opportunity to step out onto centre court at his first Commonwealth Games was a moment he tried to soak in.
“It is pretty surreal, I’ve never played in front of this many people and to have my parents in the crowd was special.
“The Maldives put up a big fight. We didn’t know anything about them coming into the match so we just had to focus on our game.
“I was certainly feeling the pressure and nerves coming into my Commonwealth Games debut, but I’m really happy with our performance and think we can really build on that performance,” he said.
Results: AUS d MDV: 2:0 (21 – 13; 21 – 17). Click here for full results.
Coming up: Australia’s men’s team take on South Africa Monday 1 August 11:30pm AEST.
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