Veteran Paul Sanderson returns to the Volleyroos line-up for the Olympic qualifiers and the Asian Championships
At 33 years of age, Paul Sanderson says Olympic qualifiers for next years games in Tokyo starting in Italy in August, could represent his last chance at playing at the Olympics.
Sanderson was part of the campaign for the 2016 Olympics in which Australia just missed out on qualifying after going down in five sets to Canada. Paul recalls, “In the last qualification we got a bit unlucky having to qualify through the world stage and we ended up missing by one position, so it was frustrating.”
This time around though, the Volleyroos have a double chance of qualifying. The first opportunity comes in Bari where Australia takes on Italy, Serbia and Cameroon. The winner automatically makes it through to Tokyo 2020.
The second chance will be given to the top eight sides at the Asian Championships this year. Those teams will play each other in January with the winner of that series qualifying for the Olympics.
Paul returns to the Volleyroos line-up after missing the Volleyball Nations League following an arduous campaign playing for CS Arcada Galati in Romania.
He is one of several big names returning for the Olympic qualifiers and the Asian Championships.
“I think it will be a different story to the VNL this year. The boys did well but we were fielding a lot of younger players and with our full squad I think we can take it to the best teams in the world. That is going to be our goal for the qualifiers and the Asian Championships.”
Australia will play several warm-up games in Russia before heading to Bari for the first stage of the Olympic qualifiers.