It’s the million dollar question, but because the Aussie teams have not been selected yet, it really is anyone’s guess. So we thought we’d give you all the info about the event, the game and the prominent players and let you make up your own mind who will be representing Australia in the CG2018 Beach Volleyball competition.
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 (GC2018)
Firstly let’s talk about the event. The 2018 Commonwealth Games is a REALLY big deal for the Gold Coast. In fact, it will be the largest sporting event held in Australia in the past decade and the biggest event ever on the Gold Coast.
How big you ask? Well, think of the Supercars and how busy things get when that’s on and then multiply that by 17 times as many people! And that includes over 6,600 athletes and team officials coming to compete at 18 different sports at venues up and down the coast from Southport to Coolangatta!
And that’s just the bodies on the ground! The GC2018 will also be broadcast around the world to an expected audience of around 1.5 billion people.
What sports are played at the Commonwealth Games?
Sports will include wrestling, weightlifting, triathlon, table tennis, swimming, squash, shooting, rugby sevens, netball, lawn bowls, hockey, gymnastics, diving, cycling, basketball, badminton, athletics … and for the first time ever, beach volleyball.
The venues of the Commonwealth Games
Gold Coast venues will include Southport Broadwater Parklands, Robina Stadium, Oxenford Studios, Optus Aquatic Centre, Nerang Mountain Bike Trails, Gold Coast Hockey Centre, Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Coomera Indoor Sports Centre, Coolangatta Beachfront, Carrara Stadium, Carrara Sports & Leisure Centre and Broadbeach Bowls Club.
As well as wall-to-wall sporting action, the GC2018 will include a 12-day festival which will run in conjunction with the games. It will be a vibrant multi-arts program featuring free performances, events and activities of every kind including live music, theatre, circus, dance and film.
There’ll be over 160 events along the entire length of the Gold Coast, with two sites in particular in Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise where the entertainment will continue non-stop over the whole 12 days of the festival.
Coolangatta to host Beach Volleyball
But enough about that … let’s talk about Cooly’s claim to fame, the Beach Volleyball competition! Not only is it being held in Coolangatta for the first time, but it’s also the first time it will be included in the Commonwealth Games and will feature the first ever gold medal for the winning men’s and women’s teams.
It’s being played at Queen Elizabeth Park on the Coolangatta Beachfront and a temporary stadium is already going up to house those lucky enough to have ringside seats.
There’ll be men’s and women’s teams competing from a range of Commonwealth countries including Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, Rwanda, Singapore, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago, England, Canada, Cyprus, Grenada, Scotland and Australia.
The Preliminaries will run from Friday 6th to Monday 9th April, with the Quarter Finals being contested on Tuesday 10th April, the Semi Finals on Wednesday 11th April and the Finals to be decided on Thursday 12th April.
Cooly’s pristine beaches are the perfect backdrop for this event, which will showcase the beauty of our region to the world. So even if you know nothing about Beach Volleyball, make sure you show the flag and get behind our Aussie competitors during the games.
A brief rundown of the game
For those who genuinely know nothing about Beach Volleyball, here’s a potted version of what it involves. Think of sweat dripping off athletic bodies, sand squeaking underfoot and players launching themselves skyward before spiking the ball ferociously behind enemy lines.
It’s a tough, physically demanding game requiring great skill and athleticism and a great spectator sport, as there is never a dull moment once that ball is served.
Beach volleyball is very similar to indoor volleyball, except it is played on sand instead of a court. Two players on either side of a high net face each other and send the ball back and forth, trying to make it land in the other team’s zone.
And no footwear is required, with both men’s and women’s teams playing barefoot or in sand socks, putting it right up there with cricket as a favourite Aussie beach game.
So who will play for the Green and Gold?
As we said, the selectors are still working on the final line up, but in the interests of educated guesswork, we’ve put together some stats on prominent players who may be in the running for a spot on the teams.
- Louise Bawden – a triple Olympian who represented Australia in Beach Volleyball at the 2012 Summer Olympics and participated in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics with partner Taliqua Clancy to reach the Quarter Finals.
- Taliqua Clancy – the first indigenous Australian to compete in Olympic Beach Volleyball when she made her debut at Rio with Bawden. The pair also won the Asian Championships in 2014.
- Mariafe Artacho del Solar – played for NSW in the Under 15s team. Now represents both NSW and Australia at an elite level. Has won gold in eight different competitions and silver in the 2016 Asian Beach Volleyball Championships.
- Cole Durant – nickname “Durantula”, has been playing top level beach volleyball for several years and has teamed up with fellow Adelaide-based Zachery Schubert.
- Damien Schumann – Under 23 Australian Champion, Queensland Open winner, Victorian Open winner, 5th on German Smart Tour, 5th at Australian Championships.
- Christopher McHugh – 2014, 2012 Asian Beach Volleyball Champion, 2010, 2012, 2011 Australian Beach Volleyball Champion, Bronze Medal 2014 FIVB Austrian Grand Slam.
Don’t miss a minute of the action
While we can only speculate about who might get to represent Australia in the men’s and women’s teams, we can say for certain that it’s going to be a spectacular competition that should not be missed.
So if you aren’t lucky enough to have tickets to the actual games, make sure you watch the TV coverage on the Big Screens at the Cooly Hotel. Not only will you be able to enjoy all the action blow by blow, you’ll also get a big helping of CG2018 atmosphere as Coolangatta gets behind our Aussie Beach Volleyball champions. Go the Green and Gold!