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The Women’s Beach Volleyball squad has had a busy week, participating at the first women’s event of the new FIVB Competition Calendar year, in China.

Vanuatu Volleyball sent two teams to the FIVB Qinzhou Open – the lead team of Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko and the Women’s second team of Loti Joe and Maybel Ravo – the former automatically listed in the tournament’s Main Draw while the latter pair participated in the Qualification round.

The spanish pair of Alvarez and Mareno proved too strong in the qualification matches for Joe and Ravo, winning in straight sets on Wednesday.

While a win, and therefore a place in the main draw, would have been preferable, Joe and Ravo are gaining the benefits of increased experience on the international stage and the ranking points gained by participating in an FIVB level tournament.

For Pata and Toko, the tournament started well with a strong straight sets win over Thai pair Radarong and Hongpak. But in the following two matches, the squad from China proved to be too strong, firstly going down to the tournament top seeds Wang/Xia, then to the pair of Wen/Wang – the ultimate bronze medallists in the competition. Although Pata and Toko started strongly against Wen/Wang, taking the first set to a 22-24 result, the Chinese women took that winning momentum into the second set and sealed their victory, ending the tournament for the Pacific champions.

For Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko, this is all good experience as the Chinese teams will be a testing hurdle in the coming months on the road to qualifying for Tokyo 2020.

Next up for Team Vanuatu is the all important Continental Cup Olympic Qualifier (Phase 1) in Fiji in mid-December.