Aussies have beach volleyball momentum

Australian beach volleyballers Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar.
Australian beach volleyballers Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar.

You can't come into a Commonwealth Games with much more momentum than Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar.

The two only came together as a team on the beach volleyball court last October, and have since been undefeated on both the Asian Tour and the FIVB World Tour.

Now they will look to keep that run going all the way into winning gold at the sport's inaugural Commonwealth Games appearance.

Key to that Games success will be Peru-born Artacho del Solar, who represented Australia at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

"She's really fiery, and really competitive, I think that's the Peruvian in her," Clancy said.

"I love the energy she brings out onto the court."

Each country will play three matches during the preliminary stage, with the two highest-ranked teams from each pool and the two best third-ranked teams from all pools advancing to the quarter-finals.

"Definitely our biggest rival will be Canada. Right now I think they are among the top three (teams) in the world," Clancy said.

"Vanautu, they're pretty competitive as well, and New Zealand - they'll be our three biggest competitors."

The Australians open their account on April 6 against Cyprus, and will also meet Scotland and Grenada as part of Pool A.

Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann have been named as Australia's male representatives after coming together just after the Rio Olympics.

They became partners when their regular partners suffered injuries, having faced each other for many years.

The men will take on Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts and Nevis in the pool stage.

"It will be a massive electric atmosphere when we first stop out there and I think we will just have to take a couple of deep breaths, soak it in and then get down to business," said Schumann.

Australian Associated Press