The Vanuatu Beach Volleyball teams have had a busy 10 days playing at international level across the globe, with some major success.
Pacific Mini Games 2022
The 2022 Pacific Mini Games took place from 17-25 June, in Saipan, Northern Marianas, with the 5-day Beach Volleyball tournament taking place throughout last week.
The Vanuatu BV squad had both a Women’s and a Men’s team competing – Loti Joe and Majabelle Lawac with Stivano Banga and James Chilia.
With the Women’s team historically good performers in this 4-yearly regional event, there were expectations they would once again finish in medal contention.
And the combination of Joe and Lawac did exactly that, making it to the Final, but ultimately being awarded the silver medal after going down in a hard-fought battle against Tahiti, finishing 13-15 in the third set.
In the Men’s competition however, expectations were wide open as Vanuatu had never previously achieved success at this level.
So, there was much excitement and celebration when Stiv Banga and James Chilia progressed through the competition undefeated, taking the Gold medal with a strong 3-set performance against the well supported local pair from Northern Marianas.
The players were well managed throughout the competition by VVF Team Manager Pelagie Maho and Coach Malon Poilapa, with strong support from the broader Team Vanuatu Pacific Mini Games athletes and officials during their matches.
Strong Performance in Italy
VVFs main women’s pairing of Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko competed in the Italian Championships across the weekend (24-26 June) in Bellaria.
They finished a very creditable fourth place, going down to the Argentinian pair of Gallay and Pereyra 15-11 in the third set of the bronze medal match.
This result follows on from their fifth placing in Turkey the previous week.
Pata and Toko have travelled this week to Greece where they will play in the FIVB World Beach Pro Tour Futures Tournament in Ios (30 June-3 July).
With them is coach Steve Anderson supported by assistant coach (European events) Federica Tonon, who was the VVF senior coach last year in the lead up to the Olympic Games qualifications.
Team Vanuatu will have to progress through the Qualification round on Wednesday (29 June) to make it into the main draw.
Following Greece, Pata and Toko will compete in two further tournaments in Italy through July before making their way to the UK for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham which will take place from 28 July.
This is the most focused competitive preparation for a major event that the Vanuatu Women’s team has done in many years, with their eyes firmly set on again being in medal contention in Birmingham, having won Bronze in 2018.