Mariafe Artacho del Solar has put herself in the box seat to be selected for Australia’s first ever Commonwealth Games Beach Volleyball team on the Gold
Coast next year.
The 24 year old Rio Olympian has continued her recent hot streak bagging a fourth consecutive Gold Medal, the latest being the all-important first Commonwealth Games selection event at Manly's Volleyfest.
Artacho del Solar says making the Commonwealth Games team is driving her every waking moment “It’s an absolute dream to be selected for the Commonwealth games. I hope it happens that I get to wear the green and gold for Australia. I’m doing all I can.”
The Peruvian born Australian was missing her recent winning partner, Taliqua Clancy for this event, Clancy is recovering from a toe injury after a training mishap.
Instead 20 year old Phoebe Bell stepped into the fill the void and gave national selectors something to think about “being a younger player and stepping up Phoebe showed us she also wants to be selected so for us its getting more and more difficult but that’s a good thing.” Said national selector Victor Anfiloff.
Artacho del Solar expects to reunite with Clancy for the World Tour event that kicks off for the women on Thursday also at Manly.
The battle amongst the men saw hot favourites Damien Schumann and Chris McHugh battle illness and rusty form to win gold.
McHugh admitting they were below their best but still found a way to get the job done “We didn’t play our best this week but we ground it out and got the win which is the most important thing.”
For the selectors the ability of McHugh and Schumann to overcome adversity and still win was a big positive.
“Damien had been sick for several days, they didn’t play their best volleyball but it’s about winning and they showed they could win when they’re not at their best and that’s a big forward step for them.”
The performance of the “other” Australian men’s teams in this tournament including Zach Schubert and Cole Durant who finished with Bronze also had Anfiloff upbeat.
“That’s exciting because we want it to be more competitive because that competition drives performance.”
“That’s what surprising about this tournament just how competitive it was with top 4 Australian men’s teams.”
There are two more Commonwealth games selection events to come over the next couple months in South Australia and West Australia.
Meanwhile the top athletes will get a taste of some strong international competition from Wednesday when the FIVB World Tour event comes to Manly Beach.