Storms couldn't rain on the parade of Aussie Beach Volleyballers on Day 1 of Samoa 2019
8 July 2019
SAMOA 2019: Unpredictable weather during the first day of Samoa 2019 could not dampen the spirits of the Aussie Beach Volleyballers, with both teams notching wins on the Apia Waterfront on Monday.
The Men’s duo of Tim Dickson and Marcus Ferguson kicked off Australia’s Pacific Games campaign, taking a 2-0 (21-10, 21-12) victory over Solomon Islands in heavy rain and wind.
“It’s our first multi-sport event and was a great honour to lead Australia out,” Dickson said.
“It was a fun game against Solomon Islands, Marcus and I played quite well. We warmed our way into it, so was a good start to the week and hopefully we can keep it going through the rest of the games.”
The duo said the rain was challenging, but made for a more exciting game.
“The rain makes the ball really slippery and it was sliding out of my hand when I served a few times,” Ferguson said. "But it also makes the sand really hard, so that means both teams were able to get out of the sand a lot easier and get higher above the net, that made the game more exciting.
Shortly after, with no sign of the rain easing off, the women’s team of Stef Weiler and Britt Kendall defeated New Caledonia 2-0 (21-13, 21-18).
Kendall said it was a releif to get the first game under their belts.
“The first-game nerves are always a thing and Stef and I played our style, which is what we wanted to do, so we’re happy with our performance,” she said.
“It’s really nice to get the first wins for Australia alongside the boys. We’re really good mates with the Aussie boys team so it’s nice to have that win together as a big team.”
Kendall said they couldn’t let the conditions get to them.
“In rain like that, we have to be adaptable and make our game more compact to suit the weather. We also have to keep a positive mindset. The minute we go ‘oh this weather sucks’ everything can go downhill, so we just need to stay positive and reactive.”
The men's beach volleyball team is back in action on Tuesday afternoon, plus Australia’s first sailor Paris van den Herik, competes in the Girls Single Handed event.
Samoa 2019 is the largest Pacific Games ever staged, with over 5000 athletes and officials from 24 nations gathering in the Samoan capital over the two-week period.
The 16th edition of the Games beats all previous Games participant records, with New Caledonia previously hosting the largest Games with a total of 4,899 athletes and officials back in 2011.
Last night, more than 3000 school children from 16 schools wowed the crowd with a dazzling display of Samoan culture at the Opening Ceremony in Apia Park.
Australian weightlifter Erika Yamasaki said it “was a massive honour” to lead Team Australia into the Opening Ceremony.
“It was an extremely exciting moment for me personally, I’ve never done anything like that before, so to be selected [as Flag Bearer] was an extremely big honour,” Yamasaki said.
Even though Australia has one of the smallest delegations at the Pacific Games, the Team was greeted with a massive cheer from the Samoan crowds when marching around the athletics track.
“The crowd tonight really made it something else,” Yamasaki said following Sunday's ceremony. “Everytime we’d walk to the next group of the crowd, they’d go crazy for us and I think the Australian Team really loved it."
“When Australia was announced and we started walking out, they started talking about the flagbearer and my achievements and I nearly broke down in tears. It was really emotional but definitely a moment I’ll never forget.”
You can stream the Pacific Games live on our website HERE.