With the start of summer fast approaching, Australia’s top beach volleyball players are ready for the Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships in Phuket, Thailand.
Australia will be represented by three men’s and three women’s teams at the Championships.
The Asian Championships will be Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Tokyo Olympian Chris McHugh’s first international tournament since the Olympic Games, and with his partner Damien Schumann retiring after Tokyo, McHugh will be teaming up with young gun Paul Burnett for the first time.
“The Asian Championships will be my first opportunity to play since the Tokyo Olympics, and I am really looking forward to competing and travelling again as we start the road to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and Paris 2024 Olympics,” McHugh told Volleyball Australia.
“With Australia and the world starting to open up after two years interrupted by COVID, the Asian Championships are a great opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the Asia Pacific region.
“I’m excited to be teaming up with Paul Burnett for this tournament. He is an exciting young talent who has a bright future in the sport and we are excited to see where we can take things whilst competing for the title of Asian Champions.
“Paul is a very different player to Damien which will keep me on my toes, but more so the opposition as he brings a lot of great attacking attributes to the court,” he said.
There will also be a new-look Australian team in the women’s draw, with Phoebe Bell pairing up with Georgia Johnson in the absence of injured Jessyka Ngauamo.
“I am really enjoying playing with Georgia, she is an exciting player that brings so much energy to the court,” Bell said.
“I have had to adapt my game style slightly to fit the new team, however I am enjoying the challenge of this.
“Both Georgia and I are really looking forward to returning to international competition in Thailand.
“I know I get so much joy from competition, so I’m looking forward to getting back overseas and representing our country,” she said.
The Asian Senior Championships will kick off a busy 12 months of beach volleyball, with the welcomed return of international competition.
“Following the Asian Championships, we will reorient our focus to the upcoming year which looks to be jam packed,” McHugh said.
“It’s going to be a big year full of international competition opportunities, with the Commonwealth Games, FIVB World Championships, Asian Games and the FIVB World Tour.
“Back home, we’re also looking forward to the 2022 Australian Beach Volleyball Tour, which will provide a good opportunity for all our teams to compete on home soil,” he said.
DAY 1 DRAW – WEDNESDAY 23 NOVEMBER
12pm AEDT – Bell/Johnson (AUS) v Rodriguez/Eslapor (PHI)
12.50pm AEDT – Stevens/Milutinovic (AUS) v Shiba/Take (JPN)
6pm AEDT – McHugh/Burnett (AUS) v Garcia/Arbasto (PHI)
6pm AEDT – Carracher/Takken (AUS) v Takahashi/Murakami (JPN)
7pm AEDT – Guehrer/Nicolaidis (AUS) v Ashen/Malintha Yapa (SRI)
8pm AEDT – Fleming/Fejes (AUS) v Tan A.K.Y./Soh C.H.C (SIN)
9pm AEDT – Stevens/Milutinovic (AUS) v Naraphornrapat/Worapeerachayakorn (THA)
With thanks Volleyball Australia.