Paris Elite16 to round out World Champs preparation
Two Australian teams will finalise their World Championships preparations with one last tournament when the Beach Pro Tour Elite16 lands in Paris this week.
Women’s Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar will be in action along with 2023 Men’s Asian Champions Tom Hodges and Zac Schubert.
The centrepiece of the Paris Elite16 is Stade Roland Garros’ Court Philippe Chatrier, home of the French Open, which will be transformed into the tournament’s centre court.
With injury cruelling their 2022 World Championships campaign, Hodges and Schubert have come back strongly this year. In June, the pair won their first Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in Latvia, and carried that form through to the Asian Championships the following week where they claimed the gold medal in China.
With all results counting towards potential Olympic qualification, Hodges said a solid training block in Adelaide before heading to Europe has prepared them well for the back half of the year.
“The physical preparation we did, including altitude chamber sessions and battles with our other Aussie men’s teams will all be really important in delivering results towards qualifying a spot in Paris next year,” said Hodges.
“Last week we were fortunate enough to have a great training camp in Pescara, Italy against some really high level teams. Italy’s number one team [Samuele] Cottafava and [Paolo] Nicolai hosted us and we had some positive experiences with them on the practice court.
“This week we have an opportunity to take on the top teams at the Paris Elite16 event. It’s an important tournament in itself but will also further help us prepare for the World Championships in Mexico next week.”
Artacho del Solar and Clancy have finished with top 10 results at all six Elite16 tournaments they have competed in this season. In Paris they will be hoping emulate their form from the first three events of the year when they reached the podium in Qatar, Mexico and Brazil.
The pair made the quarter-finals of last year’s World Championships, but will be looking to get back in the medals having finished third in 2019.
On that occasion, Artacho del Solar and Clancy won the World Tour 4-star event in Poland the week prior to the World Championships, proving how important form will be going into the biggest tournament of the year.
Hodges and Schubert will be in action from Wednesday when they enter main draw qualification as the top seeds, while Artacho del Solar and Clancy’s first matches will take place on Thursday including a clash with USA’s world #3 team, Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth.