Women playing beach volleyball

Vanuatu women eye Sol2023 beach volleyball title, PNG men emerge as surprise contenders

DSC 0432 | June 15, 2024
PNG’s men’s beach volleyball team are attracting attention after a strong start. Photos: Gibson Dite’e, Pacific Games News Service

Reigning Pacific Games women’s beach volleyball champions Vanuatu have uttered a stern challenge to competing teams that they are here to defend their title from four years ago.

Sherysyn Toko and Majabelle Lawac continued their red-hot form in Pool C at SIFF Academy on Wednesday, dominating and easing their way past Palau in straight sets (2-0) – completing a clean sweep of their pool matches.

“We are here to defend our beach volleyball title. Like every other team, we came here to win gold. We have trained hard for this tournament and we always give our best in every match and will continue doing so until we achieve our aim and that is to take back the beach volleyball gold medal,” they told the Pacific Games News Service.

Asked about this year’s competition, the duo said: “This competition will be tough as everyone are in and showcasing their best form. We feel good and excited to play despite our slow start yesterday and of course the heat, which remains a challenge for everyone.”

Other pool toppers in the women’s division include Solomon Islands (Pool A), Australia (Pool B) and New Caledonia (Pool D) – all winning two of their opening matches in the competition.

Meanwhile Papua New Guinea has for the past two days emerged as the surprise package in the men’s beach volleyball competition, after successive victories over Tuvalu, American Samoa and Samoa 2019 runners-up Tahiti.

PNG’s Damien Aisi and Tony Gima’s unbeaten run has alerted other top seeded teams such as Australia, Cook Islands, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to keep track on their progress.

“We are happy with the results we have been getting despite it being our first major international outing. We have previously competed in international junior beach volleyball meets; however, this is our first Pacific Games. It is much bigger, especially competing against top teams around the region,” they told the Pacific Games News Service.

Leading the men’s pools are Cook Islands (Pool A), Australia (Pool B) and Vanuatu (Pool C).

Beach Volleyball continues on Thursday at the SIFF Academy. Tickets are $30.

By Shoreyann Ragoso, Pacific Games News Service

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