Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar have made history at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg by claiming bronze.
It’s Australia’s first medal at the world champs since 2003, when Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson also won bronze.
A gold medal would have granted them automatic Olympic qualification, but the bronze medal is a clear indicator that the pairing are among the best in the world, just outside 12-months until Tokyo 2020.
“It’s been an intense week, we’ve gone through so much adversity and I’m proud of us for staying together as a team,” Artacho del Solar said.
“Playing in the stadiums gives you goosebumps, the energy of the crowd was unbelievable and it has been so much fun.”
It’s widely considered true that the top five teams leading into the Olympics are most likely to win a medal. Clancy said the lead up to the world champs has been intense but they know where they are at and are really happy with the result.
Clancy missed out on a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics and said she is working hard to make sure she is on the podium next year.
“It was difficult post [Rio 2016]. In 2017, it was difficult, I did lose a little bit of motivation. And I had to make so many changes in my life. It was definitely one of the toughest years I’ve had,” she said.
Clancy grew up in Kingaroy in remote Queensland with proud Indigenous parents and grandparents. She said she is delighted to be representing her country and hopes her actions can inspire others to get active.
“I don’t feel educated enough myself to be jumping up and down [about Indigenous issues]. But at the same time I think my best way [to help] is to lead with actions and to at least be, right now, a positive role model in my community,” Clancy said.
Watch the emotional moment Clancy and del Solar won bronze at the world champs here: https://www.facebook.com/FIVB.InternationalVolleyballFederation/videos/487203905156596/
By Keiran Deck