National Teams
Ticket to Paris booked in history-making feat

Ticket to Paris booked in history-making feat

Australia’s beach volleyballers have earned a second quota for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, after winning the Asian Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final in China.

The teams of Izac Carracher/Mark Nicolaidis & Paul Burnett/Jack Pearse both faced China today, with the results of the first two matches forcing a third match decider.

Burnett/Pearse put up a fierce fight, but fell just short in their match up against Chinese pair Wang Y. W./J. Li, going down in straight sets (0:2 | 20-22, 20-22).

Nicolaidis/Carracher were pushed to a third set in their first match, taking an eventual win (2:1 | 21-17, 20-22, 16-14).

With the wins split one apiece, Nicolaidis/Carracher faced Chinese pair Wu Jiaxin/HA Likejiang in a third ‘golden’ game, with the winner booking a ticket to Paris.

Despite a slow start that handed the Chinese the first set, Nicolaidis/Carracher saved match point on two occasions to take out the second set.

In the third, the momentum was well and truly in the favour of the Aussies, and after a medical timeout to the Chinese, the Australian duo stormed home to claim the win.

“It was a little bit stressful out there to be completely honest, at a few points in the game it might have looked like we were down and out,” Nicolaidis said.

“The biggest thing we did was we just stuck together as a team, we showed some heart, we fought hard and let the scoreboard take care of itself,” he said.

“We’ve had our eyes on the Continental Cup campaign for a long time now. We’ve had to prepare for the stress, and when we had the opportunity to play here…the motivation of playing for a spot for Australia and to make a big statement for Australian beach volleyball getting a second men’s team to the Olympics for the second time since Athens – there’s a weight in that but there’s also a motivation in that for us to really represent Australia with pride,” Carracher added.

“Playing alongside Paul and Jack this week has just added to the team environment – but it’s not just Paul and Jack, it’s Chris (McHugh) and D’Artagnan Potts in the week of preparation, the guys back in Adelaide, the coaching staff – it really is a big team,” Nicolaidis said.

“And I think that made a really big difference here this week, we’re all playing for a common goal and having the support of everyone just battling their hearts out. As a nation, Australia really prides itself on that camaraderie and mateship, and I think we really showed that as a big team this week and that really helped us get over the line,” he said.

Volleyball Australia’s High Performance Director Craig Marshall said: “Our men’s teams have fought hard this week at AVC Continental Cup Final to secure Australia a second spot in the men’s beach volleyball at the Paris Olympics. Selectors will now meet to determine the second team we will send to Paris.

“We are extremely proud of our entire men’s beach volleyball program, who have worked hard to secure not one, but two spots at the Games in Paris.”

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