The wait was over! An Australian beach volleyball team finally hit the court at a Commonwealth Games and what a reception they got from the parochial Australian crowd!
Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Taliqua Clancy had dreamed of this moment no doubt from the time it was announced back in March 2016 that Beach Volleyball would be included in the Commonwealth Games for the first time.
The two Rio olympians only joined forces as a team in October last year as a test run of new partnerships for a tour of Asia and they were an instant hit on court.
This moment though was the stuff of dreams, a full 4000 seat stadium on the Coolangatta beachfront for a home Commonwealth Games.
With gold glitter finger nails on one finger each to give them what the pair described as "golden energy" and remind them of what they’re here to achieve they took to Cyprus with relentless power and precision from the outset.
Cyprus tried hard and managed to win some points but they couldn’t sustain any pressure against this dynamic Australian duo.
The Aussies took the first set 21-14 and were even more dominant in the second winning it 21-9.
After the match the Aussie women admitted it was a moment to savour.
“It felt so good to be out there in front of family and friends. We definitely felt the energy from the crowd, it was just a lot of fun to be playing in front of everyone.” said Artacho del Solar.
Combinations developed over the last few months were on full display today with the dogged defence of Artacho del Solar and the big powerful finishes from Clancy that gave their opponents little chance.
“We keep building that connection together, we definitely have a trust and belief in each other and we are just going to keep feeding it and using those positive vibes from the crowd.” said Clancy.
The women's next game is against Grenada, another match that should not trouble the top seeds but the Australians will prepare as usual for a tough match.
“We always have to make sure we bring our top game, we are up against Grenada tomorrow and we can’t wait to get out there again.” said Artacho del Solar.
The Aussie men had an easy win against Fiji later in the evening in straight sets 21-9, 21-9. The Aussie men now have a day off on Saturday with their next match against Saintt Kitts and Nevis on Sunday at 12.30pm.