Hamburg, Germany, August 19, 2018 - The 2017-2018 international Beach Volleyball season will be a memorable one for Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy as the Australians ended their first full-season together on the international circuit by capturing the women’s bronze medal here Sunday afternoon at the US$800,000 Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by vodafone.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve done and achieved,” said the 28-year old Clancy, who finished fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Louise Bawden. “We set out some goals of what we wanted to achieve this year and I think we’ve actually reached all of them. I think we’ve put ourselves in a good position to start the Olympic qualification. We definitely want to be the best even though we’re in our first season, we want to be consistent and take them momentum all the way to Tokyo.”
In the tournament, they won 4 matches, beating World Number 1 (Brazil’s Agatha/Duda – the eventual winners in Hamburg), World Number 3 (Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Carolina); and World Number 5 (Canada’s Humana-Paredes/Pavan – the Commonwealth Games winners), losing twice to the in-form Czech team of Hermannova/Slukova (World Number 2), both times in 3 sets, where the Czechs were never more than 2 points ahead of them.
For the 2017-2018 FIVB campaign, Artacho and Clancy captured four World Tour gold medals by reaching the top of the podium at events in China (Qinzhou)m
Australia (Sydney), Switzerland (Lucerne) and Portugal (Espinho) for the most-ever titles in a season by an Australian men’s or women’s team.
As for season totals, Artacho and Clancy earned $133,500 for the third-best winnings effort by a women’s Australian team as the pair won 41 of 53 matches together (77.4 winning percentage). The pair also placed second at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.
“We’re a fresh team and I think we’ve done really good in our first season as a team and it’s kind of a place of where we can keep going and where we can take our team,” said the 24-year old Artacho. “We’re really competitive and keep working hard and keep setting new goals. We can keep growing and take the team to another level.”
Finishing with a 4-2 record this week, the Aussie’s only setbacks were to second-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of Czech Republic in pool play Thursday and a 2-1 (13-21, 21-19, 17-15) semi-final loss Sunday morning in the semi-finals.
So its been a huge first season for Mariafe and Taliqua, who have been together for less than a year, but have won 6 tournaments (4 World Tour and 2 Asian Tour). They now have a break from competition until mid September, when they will compete in the new Queen of the Court Tournament in Hawaii, prior to the start of the Olympic Qualification campaign, beginning with the important Asian Championships in Thailand from 24th to 28th September.