The debut of World Tour beach volleyball on Sydney’s iconic Manly Beach next month has attracted teams from throughout the world, with Australia’s charge to be led by three-time Olympian Louise Bawden and 2016 Games debutant, Nikki Laird.
Bawden and Laird are one of nine Australian teams competing in the women’s only FIVB World Tour event, with 17 different countries set to compete at the March 17-19 event.
The tournament will also officially kick off Volleyfest 2017, 10-days of world-class beach volleyball at Manly Beach that will also feature a four nation men’s invitational event, and the Australian Tour finals.
Japan, the host of the 2020 Olympics, will have four teams competing, while New Zealand and the United States will have three teams each.
Several Commonwealth countries will have teams playing in Manly, with an eye towards preparations for Commonwealth Games debut of beach volleyball on the Gold Coast next year.
Canada, England, Scotland, Vanuatu and New Zealand will all be hoping to have a team on the Gold Coast in 2018.
Australia will have a strong mix of experience and youth at Manly, with Olympians, Becchara Palmer (London 2012) and Mariafe Artacho del Solar (Rio 2016), both in action.
Palmer will renew her partnership with 2014 Youth Olympic Games representative, Phoebe Bell, a combination which helped Australia qualify a second team for the Rio Olympics, while del Solar will team up with Queensland’s Jessyka Ngauamo.
Bell’s YOG partner, Britt Kendall, will play with Queensland’s Jordan Mowen at Manly.
Europe, long considered a powerhouse of world beach volleyball, will be well represented at Manly, with teams from Germany, Spain, Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and Turkey, while Thailand has also nominated a team.
The Manly World Tour event is one of two FIVB beach volleyball competitions to be held in Australia this year, with a World Tour event also being contested in Shepparton this coming weekend.
Full details of the FIVB World Tour event in Manly, including nominations, can be found at the FIVB website.