Sydney, Australia, March 17, 2017 - Manly locals made the most of the return of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour to their local beach on Friday with solid wins in the opening round of the international competition.
Alice and Johannah Rohkamper, Katie Bartoli and Mariafe Artacho del Solar all grew up playing on the iconic sands of Manly Beach, and celebrated the return of top-level beach volleyball to their local with emphatic wins.
del Solar teamed up with Queensland’s Jessyka Ngauamo to beat New Zealand’s Danielle Quigley and Micah Brown, Bartoli and her Victorian partner, Christie Jenkins, were too strong for Canada’s Tessa Davis and Rachel Cockrell, while the Rohkampers ran out strong winners over England’s Victoria Palmer and Jessica Grimson.
“It’s amazing having this event at Manly Beach,” Alice said.
“I think we gel together really well, even though we don’t train together all year round.”
“It’s usually pretty intense when I come back from Sweden at the beginning of an Australian summer,” Johannah said.
“And this is incredible. All the volleyball fans in Sydney have been waiting a long time for an international event to come to Sydney.”
Results didn’t all go the way of Australia on Friday, with Sarah Battaglene and Stefanie Weiler, Brittany Kendall and Jordan Mowen, and Sabine Link and Rebecca Ingram all suffering defeats.
Among the winners were teams from Scotland, Japan, Germany, USA and New Zealand, underlining the diversity and international quality of the first World Tour event at Manly since 1991.
It was an historic win for Scotland’s Lynn Beattie and Melissa Coutts, the first for their country on the World Tour, and the win for Japan’s Sayaka Mizoe and Suzuka Hashimoto was their first as a pairing.
Australia’s Jenkins said getting a first-up win made up for some of the disappointment of a first-round loss at the World Tour event in Shepparton earlier this month.
“It was our first World Tour event in Shepparton, it was tough conditions, against players we weren’t used to playing against,” she said.
“Stoked to win today doesn’t even begin to describe it. This is a great lead-up for us. We’re going to play some international events in the coming weeks, so to play like this is an incredible preparation for other World Tour events coming up.”
Day two of the FIVB World Tour event at Sydney’s Manly Beach begins at 8am, local time.