The inaugural Australian U23 Beach Volleyball Championships at Coolangatta this weekend has attracted the best young players from around the country, including several who are hoping to return next year to compete in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Among the entries is Queensland’s Phoebe Bell, who was part of last year’s successful Olympic qualifying campaign.
The 20-year-old also teamed up with 2012 Olympian, Becchara Palmer, to win last weekend’s SA Open in Adelaide, beating 2016 Olympians Louise Bawden and Nikki Laird in the final.
Bell will pair with fellow Queenslander, Jessyka Nagauamo, for this weekend’s event.
Their biggest challenge may come from the highly rated Vanuatu pairing of Loti Joe and Sherysyn Toko, who were part of their country’s unsuccessful Olympic qualifying campaign last year.
In the men’s competition, South Australia’s Max Guehrer and Queensland’s Tim Dickson will be looking to build on the bronze medal they won at the NSW Open in Manly last month.
Bryce Poland and Justin Schumann, who teamed up with brother Damien to win silver at the NSW Open, will also be in the hunt for the Australian title, as will recent Oceania Championship title holders, Marcus Ferguson and Paul Burnett.
Coolangatta Beach will be the venue for next year’s debut of beach volleyball at the Commonwealth Games.
The Championships begin on Friday, with the men’s and women’s finals on Sunday.