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The Vanuatu Women’s Beach Volleyball team is in Thailand, ready to compete in the Asian Volleyball Confederation Continental Cup Final from 25-27 June.

This is the final hurdle to achieving the Vanuatu Volleyball Federation’s long-awaited dream of qualifying for an Olympic Games.

The team made it to this point by defeating New Zealand in March 2020 in the Oceania Championship, placing them directly into this third and final stage of the Olympic qualifying process.

The tournament is taking place in Bangkok over three days with eight nations participating – Vanuatu, Thailand, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia – and they will be seeded on their current AVC and FIVB points, except for Thailand which, as the host nation, will be seeded #1.

The fixture will follow a typical competition format where 1v8, 2v7 and so. Based on this, Vanuatu expects to be ranked #5 and is expected to play the team ranked #4.

Each nation has two representative teams, both of which play a match, with one pair selected for a third and deciding match if needed.

The official Technical meeting for the event will take place on Thursday 24 June at 7pm (ICT- Bangkok), at which time the final seedings will be confirmed and the fixture will be announced for the Day 1 opening round of matches on Friday.

The Match Schedule will be published on the Vanuatu Beach Facebook page as soon as it is announced late on Thursday night.

This is a single elimination event with every match therefore vital for progression to the next round.

The event will be streamed LIVE by AVC on three platforms:

Team Vanuatu has fought long and hard for this opportunity, overcoming many financial and logistical hurdles along the way.

The national women’s team came close to qualifying for the Olympics in both 2012 and 2016 and their hope is that now it will be a case of ‘third time is a charm’.

For this competition, the four players representing Vanuatu are the top pairing of Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko, with Loti Joe and Majabelle Lawac playing as the second team.

One of Vanuatu’s elite young development players, 18 year-old Chantale Willie, has also travelled as a member of the squad as a back-up player and to gain invaluable experience in the landscape of international competition.

All players received initial COVID-19 vaccinations before leaving Vanuatu and were tested on arrival in Bangkok on Monday, then again on Thursday.

The small Pacific nation is, as always, fully supporting the Vanuatu Volleyball Federation and these athletes, and will no doubt be riding every serve, set and smash with the players across the weekend.

Support has also been strong and consistent from all of VVFs sponsors, partners and supporters, particularly its major sponsors P&O Cruises Australia and Titan FX Financial Services, who have been unwavering through more than the past 12 months where preparations and events have been severely affected by the global pandemic.

Competition results and updates will be posted on the Vanuatu Beach Facebook page as they come in, supported by a gallery of photos on both Facebook and Instagram, which media outlets are welcome to use with appropriate Vanuatu Volleyball accreditation.