Australia’s golden girl of beach volleyball, Taliqua Clancy, is expecting her toughest competition at the Commonwealth Games to come from Canada, Vanuatu and New Zealand.
Two years ago Clancy, 25, became the first Indigenous beach volleyballer to compete at an Olympic Games when she made her debut in Rio.
She has previously faced many of the competitors she will do battle with on the Gold Coast, but said there were some unknowns.
“The Canadian girls – we play them on tour, we get to see each other, we all scout each other, Vanuatu and some of the NZ companies as well,” she told NIT.
“Some of the others we don’t know too much about, so there is a bit of the unknown.”
Clancy said the Gold Coast Games would be a chance to play on home soil — she was born in Queensland and her family still live there.
“My immediate family and aunties and uncles will make the trip down to the Gold Coast (from Kingaroy and Cairns),” she said.
“They don’t usually get the opportunity to see me represent Australia and they don’t get to see me play often because I’m always travelling around the world.
“It’s always nice to show them what I do and bring it to them.”
Clancy will compete on the Gold Coast with new sporting partner, Peruvian-born Mariafe Artacho del Solar, who she teamed up with in October.
The duo has been training at Volleyball Australia’s headquarters at the South Australian Sports Institute.
“This week is still a hard training week, but when we fly over there on the 1st of April that’s when we will start tapering off and focus a bit more on game time and the sessions we have,” Clancy said.
Small town, big dreams
Clancy, who grew up in the inland town of Kingaroy, said she never would have dreamed she would become a beach volleyballer.
“I was very fortunate to find my way to the beach,” she said.
“I always had the Olympic dream and always knew I’d be an Olympian, but you wouldn’t have been able to sit years ago and tell me that when I was watching the Sydney Olympics I’d be in beach volleyball.”
She said young people should follow their dreams.
“It’s (about) just not setting any limits on yourself and not letting other people set limits on you,” she said.
“You will face people who are negative, but their opinion doesn’t matter.
“If you know you love what you do and it’s for you, just really back that in.”