Australia’s best beach volleyballers will commence their 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships campaign on Friday in Rome, Italy.

Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy are set to be among the first teams to take to the court, with their first game to be played at 6pm AEST.

“We are super excited to be competing in the World Championships,” said Artacho del Solar.

“Our aim is always to focus on our processes, take it one game at a time and enjoy competing against the best teams in the word,” she said.

They’ll be joined by fellow Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games team members Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett, with McHugh preparing to defend his Commonwealth Games gold medal come next month. 

McHugh said it will be a good opportunity to benchmark their progress against some of the world’s best.

“You always want to play the best teams, at the highest level, and test yourself and your game under the highest pressure,” McHugh said.

“We’re looking forward to the challenges ahead, and to continue growing and developing as a team,” he said.

Rounding out the Aussie squad will be young guns Mark Nicolaidis/Izac Carracher and Georgia Johnson/Alisha Stevens. 

Johnson and Stevens will also compete on the opening day of competition (12-midnight AEST), with Stevens saying she’s excited for the chance to come face-to-face with some of the world’s top international teams.

“Our goals for World Champs is to turn up and compete, no matter who we are versing, we are putting everything into every point,” she said.

“I’m mostly looking forward to being in the same competition as the best players in the world, and am very grateful to be given this opportunity.”

Nicolaidis said that he and Carracher are heading into the World Championships to give each game their all.

“Our goals for World Champs are to go as deep into the tournament as we possibly can while pushing our game style on the biggest stage,” Nicolaidis said.

“We are most looking forward to competing against the best teams in the world and proving we have what it takes at the highest level,” he said.

The Championships in Rome will also see Australia put forward its bid to host the 2025 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.

“We are putting forward a very attractive bid to the FIVB and Volleyball World to host the Beach Volleyball World Championships in 2025,” said  Volleyball Australia CEO Andrew Dee.

“It all forms part of the green and gold runway where we want to have world class events on home soil over the next ten years that further promotes the sport in Australia and provides our teams with greater opportunities leading into the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games and Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games.

“We are renowned for delivering world class beach volleyball events in Australia and we have had some exciting conversations with government partners about iconic locations that could host the Worlds in 2025… all will be revealed shortly,” he said. 

The 2022 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships will be held in Rome, Italy from 10-19 June 2022.

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