The Vanuatu beach volleyball women’s team have left our shore for Cambodia and Thailand tour.

The team led by coach Michel Bargmann, with two teams (four players) — Miller Pata, Sherysyn Toko, Loti Joe and 18 year old Majabelle Lawac flew out of Port Vila early yesterday morning heading for Cambodia for the first 2020 Women’s FIVB World Tour event.

The Anchor Beach Volleyball Carnival in Siem Reap is the 426th women’s World Tour event since the FIVB first sanctioned women’s Tournament in August 1992 at Almeria, Spain. Previous 2019-2020 stops for women have been in China, Israel and Mexico.

A total of 34 women’s teams from 17 countries are entered into the Anchor Beach Volleyball Carnival at Siem Reap (as of February 2, 2020), including pairs from Australia (2 teams), Austria (1), Cambodia (2), Canada (1), Chinese Taipei (2), Cyprus (1), Denmark (2), Germany (1), Israel (1), Japan (5), Russia (1), Slovenia (1), Switzerland (1), Thailand (4), Ukraine (2), United States (5) and Vanuatu (2).

Headlining the field is Australians Nicole Laird and Becchara Palmer, the 35th-ranked team on the FIVB circuit with one World Tour gold medal to their credit after topping a podium last March in Sydney. Both players have Olympic experience with Palmer competing in the London 2012 Summer Games and Laird four years later at the Rio 2016 competition.

Meanwhile the National Women’s Beach Volleyball squad has a busy five months coming up with 15 international tournaments in which VVF has them scheduled to compete — including the all-important Olympic Qualifiers.

By the end of the month the squad will be in Australia to compete in National Tour events there. The all-important first Olympic qualifying test will be at the Continenal Cup (Phase 1) at Mt Maunganui Beach, New Zealand from 10-12 March. But there’s lots of hard work to do before the team thinks about the hurdles in March.Following Cambodia, the squad will travel to Thailand to compete in Udonthani in the AVC Asian Senior Beach Volleyball Championships on 12-15 February.