Interstate duo proves a winning combination

11 April 2014

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Young beach spikers from 18 countries have tested their mettle in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Continental Beach Volleyball Qualification Tournament in Thailand.
At the conclusion of the three-day competition at Khanom Beach in Khanom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Aussie schoolgirls Brittany Kendall and Phoebe Bell booked Australia a spot at the 2014 Youth Olympics.
The talented juniors claimed the silver medal in tense circumstances. They lost a nail biting final to Indonesia’s Nanda Ragillia/Maria Dwiningtyas 21-15, 18-21, 15-12. It was enough to qualify Australia for the first ever women’s YOG Beach Volleyball competition to be held in August in Nanjing, China.
Unfortunately Australia’s male team Regan Fathers/ Max Guehrer finished outside the requisite top six for YOG qualification. But Kendall and Bell will be hoping to do the green and gold proud.
Seventeen-year-old Kendall lives in South Australia and trains as part of the South Australian Institute of Sport program, while 18-year-old Bell, the brother of national Indoor Volleyball representative Ben Bell, lives in Queensland and trains with the Queensland Academy of Sport.
After a series of national junior camps and the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Championships, the two girls from the Beach Volleyball Australia National Talent ID Program were matched together.
Prior to this the girls had trained with a variety of partners- Bell even paired with senior representative Taliqua Clancy to take out a leg of the National Beach Volleyball Series in the Gold Coast this year which raised many eyebrows.
But the Volleyball Australia staff observed Kendall and Bell’s on-court abilities and decided the interstate pair was best suited to tackle the junior circuit. Now Bell travels to South Australia for training blocks with Kendall, and the bright young prospects are holding their own against Australia’s senior players who are also based in Adelaide.
The next few months will grant this generation next pair an opportunity to compete at the Nanjing 2014 YOG. They may also have a chance to compete at the World Junior Beach Volleyball Championships which fall just prior to the Games and would be great preparation for the YOG.
Teams from Indonesia, Kazakhstan and hosts Thailand booked two berths including one apiece in the boy’s and girl’s categories for the Nanjing YOG.

Taya Conomos