Wellington, New Zealand, April 29, 2018 – New Zealand’s beach volleyball stars are lining up their next play following the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Tauranga brothers Sam and Ben O’Dea were able to cinch a bronze medal in beach volleyball’s Game’s debut, while the women’s duo of Shaunna Polley and Kelsie Wills powered through the preliminary rounds before bowing out in the quarterfinal against Cyrpus.
Sam O’Dea said while they were eyeing gold, the brothers were content with their bronze medal performance.
“We had gold on our minds but coming away with bronze still feels pretty awesome and is probably a good reflection of where we are as a team right now.
For us as players to compete on this stage in front of a full stadium of cheering fans so close to home with many kiwi flags waving back at us was incredible.”
The medallists will now temporarily part ways with Sam partnering up with German player Daniel Wernitz to tackle the German national tour, returning to New Zealand later in the year following the Asian tournament rounds in September.
Ben O’Dea, who has been nursing a shoulder injury for the past year, will have surgery and remain in New Zealand for rehabilitation.
The brothers hope to join forces once again for the New Zealand summer beach volleyball season.
Shaunna Polley and Kelsie Wills are also taking some time post competition to recuperate and reflect following their successful international season.
Volleyball New Zealand CEO Paul Cameron was delighted with the team’s performances.
“Both teams played exceptionally well with absolute world-class performances against some strong opponents.
We’re delighted the men could bring home a medal but also very proud of our women’s team, who went undefeated in the preliminary rounds to top their pool and performed admirably in a challenging quarterfinal.”
The inclusion of beach volleyball at the Commonwealth Games provided an exciting pathway for the sport in New Zealand, which boasts an impressive depth of talent. Beach volleyball countries in the Commonwealth will now be pushing for its inclusion in Birmingham in 2022.
Volleyball New Zealand will be continuing to look at the pathway for all its performance athletes as the game continues to grow in both indoor & on the beach.
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