Beach Ferns and Beach Blacks qualify for main draw in Morocco

Beach Ferns and Beach Blacks qualify for main draw in Morocco

Beach Ferns Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley and Beach Blacks Sam O'Dea and Brad Fuller have qualified for the main competition draw of the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour event in Agadir, Morocco.

It's the first time NZ teams have made the main draw of this challenger event.

Both teams have spent the last few months on the World Tour circuit through Europe facing top class competition, and travelling and training alongside each other in the build up to the Games, helping both teams develop their partnerships. 

"We were wining New Zealand, doing really well, winning in the US, in Asia, in Australia and you come to Europe and it doesn't go so well. We had back to back tournaments where we lost a few games and it was a bit of a confidence hit when you're used to winning a lot - it was funny to see, but then we found our way again. That's the thing with sport, it can take a little while, but now we're good to go," said Sam O'Dea.

"Since April, it's been pretty much non stop international travel, mainly around Europe. Being on the tour has been amazing - you miss your family, but it's just such a different experience for me, definitely different, it's just such a big place. Playing quality opposition every week for me and Sam builds on what we did in New Zealand, you learn a lot playing these dedicated athletes," said Brad Fuller.

Travelling as a unit means the teams can support each other with the challenge of living on the road as professional athletes, supporting each other at matches and even sharing cooking duties. 

"It's great travelling with the other kiwis, and doing things like cooking together, the boys have been showing off their Master Chef Skills, we love having a home cooked meal. The guys have been awesome, like it's just so nice to be playing and then to hear them cheering for you and just coming in supporting, it's just a really great culture. I think something that Shaunna and I because last year we traveled during COVID just by ourselves for like five months. So we've really noticed a big difference this year, traveling with the squad," said Alice Zeimann. 

Coach Jason Lochhead has been travelling with the team, helping with tournament preparation and in the buildup to the Birmingham Games.

"Jason's been awesome - when you're by yourself, you're training alone or having to reach out to teams and and be participants in their training sessions. Jason's been helping warm us up to games, taking our trainings and organising things with other teams. It's invaluable because it saves you a lot of time and it's so much nicer having someone coaching rather than just the two of you - he does a lot of work off the court in terms of video and stats, it's amazing to have him here and we appreciate the time he's spending away from his family. We're really grateful for his support, as well as all the support from home, we couldn't do it without them," said Shaunna Polley.


Agadir tournament draw

Beach Volleyball World highlights


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