Volleyball Australia Announces Teams For Beach Volleyball World Championships
Volleyball Australia is pleased to confirm the Australian teams for the upcoming FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, to be held in Rome from June 10 to June 19 2022.
96 teams from across the world have been confirmed, including four Australian teams – with two men’s and two women’s teams set to don the green and gold in Italy.
Volleyball Australia National Performance Director Craig Marshall said he is proud to announce the eight athletes who will represent Australia in 10 days time.
“I’d like to congratulate all eight athletes on their selection – representing your country at a World Championships is extremely special, and I’m proud to announce the four teams who will do so in Italy in early June,” Marshall said.
“We have incredible depth in our men’s program at the moment, and both Chris and Paul, and Mark and Izac have shown promise in the recent Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour events, matching it with some of the best teams in the world.
“And our women’s teams are a great mix of experience and youth – Mariafe and Taliqua as the current Olympic silver medalists and the exciting young team of Alisha and Georgia,” he said.
Fresh off a fifth place at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 event in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Olympic silver medalists Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy come in as eighth seeds.
Artacho del Solar said the World Championships will form an important part of their preparations for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“We are super excited to be competing in the World Championships in Rome,” Artacho del Solar said.
“Our aim is always to focus on our processes, one game at a time and to enjoy competing amongst the best in the world.
“It’s going to be a great competition – everyone will be fighting for the title!” she said.
The pair have been drawn in Pool H and will face USA’s Cannon/Sponcil (#17), Cuba’s Leila/Lidy (#21) and Farida/Doaa from Egypt (#41), but Clancy said they’re going to take each game as it comes.
“All our opponents are tough. Every game we will work hard to bring out our best level,” Clancy said.
“It’s just a huge honour to represent your country and we’re super proud for another opportunity to do so,” she said.
Reigning Asian champions Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett have been selected to play at their first World Championships as a team, something which McHugh is proud of.
“It’s exciting as a team to be at our first World Championships together,” McHugh said.
“We have had a really solid build up to the tournament and at the World Championships we want to continue to put our best game out there every time we step on the court.
“We will fight hard, and both Paul and I are looking forward to representing the green and gold with pride,” he said.
“It’s always an honour to represent Australia, and to have the opportunity to do it at a World Championships on such a big stage is awesome,” added World Champs debutant Burnett.
“We’re going to be competing against the top teams in the world, so we’ll have to bring our best every game. But our goal is definitely to win a medal and get on that podium,” he said.
Seeded 10th, McHugh and Burnett have been drawn in Pool J and will play Ehlers/Wickler from Germany (#15), Uruguay’s Hannibal/Cairus (#34) and Cuba’s Diaz/Alayo (#39).
In their breakthrough season, Mark Nicolaidis and Izac Carracher will form Australia’s second men’s team for the World Championships.
“We couldn’t have been more excited when we found out that we were selected,” Nicolaidis said.
“As a team we only played our first world tour event together a few months ago and now to be representing the country at the World Championships is an absolute honour.
“We are looking forward to competing against the best teams in the world, and proving we have what it takes at the highest level,” he said.
Carracher added he’s stoked that the hard work they have been putting in is paying off.
“I think one of the biggest keys for us has been enjoying volleyball while maintaining our competitive fires,” Carracher said.
“Day in, day out we have worked on playing our game style on all stages and in all conditions.
“We are stoked for the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage in our sport – bring it on!” he said.
Drawn in Pool L the 36th seeded Aussies will take on 12th seeds Renato/Vitor Felipe and 13th seeds Alison/Guto, both from Brazil, as well as Mora/Lopez from Nicaragua (#37).
Young guns Alisha Stevens and Georgia Johnson will pair as the second women’s team, and have been drawn in Pool J with Canada’ s top seeded team of Pavan/Melissa (#10), Laboureur/Schulz from Germany (#15) and Placette/Richard from France (#34).
Stevens said she was so excited to be announced on her debut World Championship team and is looking forward to the opportunity to match it with some of the world’s top players.
“I remember being in the meeting room nervously waiting outside having no idea what it was going to be about, as soon as I got the confirmation [she was selected], I couldn’t stop smiling,” Stevens said.
“It made sense why we were being pushed to our limits in training and a wave of relief came across me like it’s all gradually paying off.
“I’m very lucky to be given this opportunity with Georgia and we will go out there and give it our all.”
AUSTRALIAN BEACH VOLLEYBALL TEAMS
Taliqua Clancy (QLD) and Mariafe Artacho del Solar (QLD)
Chris McHugh (SA) and Paul Burnett (WA)
Izac Carracher (NSW) and Mark Nicolaidis (QLD)
Georgia Johnson (QLD) and Alisha Stevens (QLD)