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Vanuatu Women’s Beach Volleyball team has returned home to Port Vila from their latest tournament location in Australia after the Coolangatta FIVB World Tour event was cancelled on Sunday due to the current issues surrounding the Corona Virus pandemic.

Coming off the back of the major success in New Zealand where Team Vanuatu’s Miller Pata, Sherysyn Toko, Loti Joe and Linline Matauatu, secured a place among the final eight teams in the Continental Cup Olympic Qualifier Final event in June, this is both disappointing and disruptive to the squad’s preparation.

With the world virtually going into lock-down in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19, the International Beach Volleyball competition schedule has not remained unaffected. All tournaments in which Vanuatu had planned to compete across the next four months have been cancelled.

What this means is that the valuable experience, ranking points and tournament accreditation which would have been gained by players, are now not available. Player eligibility criteria with regards to the Tokyo Olympics – still scheduled to go ahead at this stage – is therefore uncertain. As is the case with all qualifying processes ahead of the major August event.

For Team Vanuatu, the plan is now to settle in and train towards June and the final step in the biggest goal Vanuatu Volleyball has for 2020 – a spot at the Olympics.

While disappointed and frustrated by the current turn of events, VVF President Debbie Masauvakalo is being realistic.

“The situation is not good but it is what it is,” she said.

“We will stay home, train harder and keep positive on the court and in the gym while awaiting news from FIVB about the revised qualification plans for Tokyo 2020.

“It’s not just beach volleyball which has been affected. It’s all Olympic sports. That’s the reality.”


[Photo Credit: JulieMaree Photography]