The hopes of an Australian medal in volleyball in Rio lie solely with two teams, with the pairings of Taliqua Clancy and Louise Bawden, and Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar qualifying for the women’s beach volleyball competition.
It’s been different journeys for both teams with Clancy and Bawden securing automatic qualification to Rio after finishing seventh at the end of the world ranking qualification period in June. For Laird and Artacho del Solar, qualification only arrived after a heart-stopping 19-17 win over Vanuatu in the final of a qualifying tournament in Cairns at the end of June.
It’s a mix of new faces and experience for the beach volleyball teams, with Clancy, Laird and Artacho del Solar all making their debut. For Bawden, it will be her third, having represented Australia in beach volleyball at London in 2012 and indoor volleyball at Sydney in 2000.
Both teams will be supported by major sponsor helloworld who came on board as the official travel partner for Volleyball Australia and the national teams, the helloworld Volleyroos in March.
Helloworld Head of Branded Network, Julie Primmer said it was a fantastic achievement that two Australian teams had qualified for the beach volleyball tournament.
“It’s a great effort by both teams to qualify for Rio. They never gave up and now will be joining the Australian team. Helloworld wishes them all the best in Rio.
“Helloworld is very excited to be a part of the helloworld Volleyroos and to support Australian athletes. With a four-year deal that supports both the national teams and state volleyballs organisations, we’re committed to growing the sports of volleyball and beach volleyball in Australia.”
Rod Harys from Volleyball Australia said sending two helloworld Volleyroo teams to Rio was an amazing achievement.
“We’re delighted that Louise, Taliqua, Nicole and Mariafe will be representing Australia and Volleyball Australia in Rio. All of them are inspirational athletes and great ambassadors of the sport. Thanks to helloworld for their continued support of volleyball in Australia. We’re all cheering the helloworld Volleyroos on for gold!”
Australia’s beach volleyball matches start on Saturday 6 August, with matches to be held on the world famous Copacabana Beach.
The two women’s beach volleyball teams will be joined by a third helloworld-backed team, with the men’s national basketball team, thehelloworld Boomers, also supported as part of a recently announced four-year deal with Basketball Australia.