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The Vanuatu National Women’s Beach Volleyball team is entering the final stretch on the road to #Paris2024 as they head towards the final phases of Olympic qualification, which will be held in China next month.

The Team Vanuatu squad, with support from regular Aussie-based coach Shanon Zunker, has this week headed to China, to compete in two FIVB World Beach Pro Tour Futures events over the next fortnight, ahead of the remaining phases of the Continental Cup in June.

Linline Matauatu and Majabelle Lawac, with Sherysyn Toko and Loti Joe, will tip off in the first of these events on Friday in Pingtan (10-12 May), where they have been seeded #7 and #9 respectively.

The BPT Futures events in both Pingtan this weekend, and then in Wuhan next weekend (16-19 May) will be a strong performance gauge for the coaching staff on site and in Port Vila, in preparation for the Continental Cup semi-final phase, for which Vanuatu qualified with its second placing at the Continental Cup – Oceania Phase 1 event in Port Vila, in September last year.

Coach Zunker is looking at these events in China as a way to gain valuable feedback on the squad’s progress, in relation to changes being implemented in the style of volleyball they’re playing.

“The girls have been working very hard on some new ways of doing things to improve our offensive effectiveness and adapting our game strategy to suit the way the sport is being played at the highest level,” he said.

“The Vanuatu women have been competitive internationally for a long time, but across both genders beach volleyball is evolving and we need to evolve with it.”

Shanon says while there is a focus on the Continental Cup in June, it’s important to use these international events to evaluate where the team is in terms of execution in high pressure situations.

“We aim to play a much stronger, faster and more versatile style, which the girls are performing well in practice, and I’m super proud of them for embracing that change. It’s now time to see how that translates in matches.”

With the players having spent the past few weeks in a training camp setting on the Gold Coast in Queensland, in the leadup to these next events, they are feeling confident and are ready to hit the sand in China over this next fortnight and give their best, with an eye on the prize in June!


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