No court, no problem for Kiribati beach volleyball men

APIA, 12 JULY 2019 (PACIFIC GAMES NEWS SERVICE) – Kiribati men’s beach volleyball team have no access to a beach volleyball court in their home country, but it hasn’t stopped them progressing to the quarter-finals at the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games.

The pair of Talaika Manuera and Rooti Ioakim defeated Palau 2-1 at Apia Waterfront on Wednesday to book their place in the final eight, even though they lacked facilities and equipment to train in the lead-up to Samoa 2019.

“Our training back home in preparation for these Games was done on an indoor court and not a beach volleyball court because we do not have a proper facility to train on,” revealed Manuera.

“In Kiribati beach volleyball is not well supported, but now when they hear how good our results and performance are at these Games, when we go back hopefully we will get help to develop this sport in our country,” he added.

The surprise package in the women’s event has been New Caledonia, who have also reached the quarter-finals. The teenage pair of Evelyne Lawi and Julia Qazing spent a week training in Port Vila, Vanuatu before the Games and have amazed the crowds at Samoa 2019 with their performances in the first three days of competition.

The crowd went wild as they won 2-1 over Kiribati on Wednesday, the grandstand awash with flags, dancing and excitement.

“I was happy for us to win the last set,” said a relieved Lawi. “Even though we wanted to win 2-0, I think losing the second set helped us keep our mind focused in the last set, having to win that to qualify for the wild card.”

Wednesdays other matches saw Tahiti men defeat Vanuatu 2-1 and Samoa women beat Palau 2-1.

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