Suva, Fiji, November 8, 2016 - Vanuatu women’s team will look to defend their gold medal at this year’s Oceania Beach Volleyball Championships scheduled for November 18-26 at Smuggler’s Cove in Suva, Fiji. But the team will be half the same.
Vanuatu’s Linline Matauatu/Miller Pata, veterans of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, won last year’s Oceania gold medal in Rartonga, Cook Islands and Matauatu returns this year with youthful Loti Joe to attempt to repeat. Pata is expected to return to action in 2017 in time for the start of the FIVB World Tour.Quick links - Beach Volleyball:
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Matauatu is a veteran of 33 FIVB World Tour events, earning a fourth place finish with Pata in Fortaleza, Brazil this season and was voted as the 2015 Most Improved Player on the FIVB World Tour.
While Joe is one of junior players who has improved a lot in recent years having played in a number of FIVB events and regional events, such as the AVC continental Cup, Oceania and the South Pacific Games.
Matauatu and Joe have played once together, finishing ninth at the 2014 Asia Beach Volleyball Championships in China.
The two athletes will be traveling alone to Fiji and will be taking part in three events with Matauatu serving as teammate, captain and coach of the team.
“I am confident I can be captain and also coach the team," Matauatu said. "Miller and I have been playing for several years, I have learned many things and can express them will to Loti as we play together in Fiji.”
Joe commented: “I trust Linline to play and also to coach us. She is a great player and a good teacher for me already. To take Miller’s spot is a big challenge for me because she is one of my beach volleyball idols. But I have confidence in myself and I believe I will do my every best to defend Vanuatu’s gold in the Oceania Beach Volleyball Championships.”
When asked about successfully defending their gold in Oceania Champs both players nodded with confident smiles.
The events are the Fiji Beach Volleyball Open, held as part of the Sub Zone. In it there will be countries from Western Zone, Central Zone, and Eastern Zone from the Asian Voleyball Confederation that Oceania is part of in the FIVB organizational structure.
Last on the three-event schedule will be the Oceania Beach Championship where the Vanuatu women’s team will defend their gold medal.
Vanuatu women’s assistant coach Joyce Joshua will be the on-site team leader for Vanuatu’s Matauatu/Joe while they are on the extended trip to Fiji.