Australia’s Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar have finished fourth at the Beach Volleyball World Championships earlier Monday in Mexico.
The duo came out firing in the bronze medal playoff against USA’s Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth, winning the opening set 21-15.
There was nothing separating the two sides in the second set and while the Aussies looked close to clutching the match and the bronze medal, the USA fought back in the dying moments to push the match into a third with a 19-21 scoreline.
The Aussies were unable to find their rhythm in the deciding set, with the USA taking home the medal with a 15-8 win in the third.
While the Olympic silver medallists were disappointed to narrowly miss the podium, they are pleased with the steps they are taking with just under 12 months until the Paris Olympics.
Dual Olympian Taliqua Clancy said while they wanted to go home with the medal, their major goal is the Paris Olympic Games next year.
“It obviously feels a little bittersweet at the moment but I’m so incredibly proud of our team, especially Mariafe because of all the challenges we’ve had this event,” said Clancy. “It’s just amazing that we were still just able to deliver such high quality volleyball even though we weren’t able to turn things our way this time.
“I think it’s a really exciting step when you look forward to Paris next year.”
Artacho del Solar didn’t have the greatest lead-in to today’s medal match, fighting off a bacterial infection. But she said thanks to the great teamwork, she was still so happy with the high quality volleyball they were able to deliver.
“Unfortunately I came down with some bacterial infection but I’m super proud of our team – ’T’ really stuck by my side and really stepped up and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that,” she said.
“We stuck really strong and I’m really proud of what were able to deliver in the situation and to have still made it to the last day, we can’t ask for anything more.
“We go home knowing that we’re on the right track and it’s all about the process towards our big goal in Paris next year.”
With the next big focus turning towards the Olympic Games, Clancy said the past ten days has firmed the march towards qualification and built more confidence in their ability to survive the format of the event.
“World Champs is a really great qualifying step, we have really good points here, so that’s a really great result for us and will really help because there’s not many more tournaments until the next calendar year,” said Clancy.
“Another really, really great step forward and this is honestly the only event that compares to the Olympics – the format and how it runs – so it’s a really good experience to see where things are at and I think we just have to be so proud of what we were able to deliver.”
Following Paris, the next Beach Volleyball World Championships will be held in Adelaide, with a handover ceremony taking place at the conclusion of the event in Tlaxcala. Artacho del Solar is already looking forward to 2025 and the opportunities it will create for beach volleyball in Australia.
“Definitely very excited to have the World Champs at home,” she said. “It’s such a big event and to have such a big event like that in Australia, it’s going to be so good for the growth of our sport.”
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