Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Chris McHugh will headline the event with his new partner Paul Burnett to kick off the summer of beach volleyball action.
The Australian Beach Volleyball Tour (ABVT) will return this week, bringing together Australia’s best beach volleyball players.
The first leg of the 2022 tour is the Cobram Barooga Classic, running 4 – 6 February, with Sunday’s finals to be broadcast live on SBS and streamed via SBS on demand.
The ABVT will provide the perfect platform for Volleyball Australia’s high performance athletes preparing for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in just under 200 days time.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Tokyo Olympian Chris McHugh will headline the event with his new partner Paul Burnett.
It will be the first competition for the pair since they won the Asian Men’s Beach Volleyball Championships in November 2021.
McHugh said he’s excited to return to Cobram, but knows he’ll be up against some tough competition with many athletes fighting for their spot on the FIVB World Tour and Commonwealth Games Team.
“The first leg of the 2022 ABVT in Cobram Barooga is super exciting!” McHugh said.
“I love returning to Thompsons Beach, it’s my favourite stop on the tour. You can’t beat the Murray River and surrounds. We can’t wait to get back on the sand to play our first tournament of the year!
“The ABVT provides us with some much needed competition in the lead up to the World Tour but is also a critical step in the process for Commonwealth Games selection later in the year in Birmingham.
“The Aussie spot is up for grabs and everyone is fighting tooth and nail to be on the team.
“Our toughest competition will come from our fellow national team members Tom [Hodges] and Max [Guehrer] but also Mark [Nicolaidis] and Izac [Carracher], with the younger cohort of players sure to step up and push us all to be better,” he said.
With Gold Coast 2018 and Tokyo Olympic silver medallists Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy sitting the Cobram round out, the women’s competition is bound to be fierce.
New pairing Phoebe Bell and Stefanie Fejes are coming in as top seeds, just in front of Jasmine Fleming / Georgia Johnson and Jess Ngauamo / Nikki Laird, with all duos looking to gain valuable experience as a team in what’s set to be a massive summer of beach volleyball.
Bell placed third at the Cobram ABVT last year, with her then partner Jess Ngauamo.
This year, pairing up with Stefanie Fejes, Bell said she’s excited to return to Cobram and develop her playing style with Fejes.
“I am very much looking forward to playing with Stefie, she’s a young and exciting up and coming athlete,” Bell said.
“We will have a unique game style, both being left-handed, so it should be exciting to watch.
“Cobram is always a wonderful event. We are very fortunate to have been able to play in this beautiful location for the past couple of years.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this event. We appreciate your efforts to run an event in the current global climate.”
Following the ABVT running 4 – 6 February will be the second round of the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Tour, with Australia’s best Under 19s and 21s athletes, competing on Thompsons beach from 7 – 9 February.
With thanks Volleyball Australia.