A month out from the Opening ceremony, the Australian Olympic Committee announced the pair going to Tokyo for Beach Volleyball.
Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy will be chasing a medal in Tokyo, competing at their first Olympics as a team after the two competed with other partners at Rio 2016.
Clancy was in the more successful of the two pairs at Rio, bowing out in the quarter-finals against the eventual bronze medalist, American pair, April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings. From Kingaroy, the 28-year-old is Australia’s first Indigenous Olympian in Beach Volleyball.
Artacho del Solar didn’t have an easy time in Rio, pooled with Ross and Walsh Jennings and was unable to make it out of the group stage, winning one set for the tournament. The 27-year-old was born in Peru and moved to Australia with her family when she was 11.
The pair have become one of Australia’s strongest Volleyball teams in Australian history, medalling at the 2019 World Championships in Hamburg and have won nine gold medals since coming together in 2017.
They’ll be full of confidence as they arrive in Tokyo and will likely end up in an advantageous pool as the number five team in the world.
Four more pairs are currently competing in Thailand to secure more tickets, with one men’s and one women’s Olympic quota spot available at the qualifying tournament.
28-year-old Clancy was thrilled to be heading to Tokyo with a partner she’s known since adolescence.
“It’s been such a crazy time so it’s really nice to have this moment to be really present and to celebrate going to a second Olympics,” Clancy said.
“Mariafe and I have known each other we were 12, and it’s awesome now just to see the growth with Mariafe and myself and to be able to come together and create a really awesome team.
“We have such a special relationship and I’m just so grateful for that special connection that we have and that it translates onto the court.
“Having my mum and aunty here at today’s announcement is special – they’ve been there through the beginning they know what I’ve had to go through in the in the during this time, it’s nice to have them here today and just by my side like they always are.”
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Artacho del Solar saw the additional year as an advantage for the pair.
“It’s definitely been a long time coming,” she said.
“Five years between Olympics even for it’s quite a long time, but we’ve really used to our advantage, we’re ready.
“The connection Taliqua and I have is definitely one of our strengths – it’s just so special we get to go to Tokyo and compete together.”
The Beach Volleyball competition will run from 24 July – 7 August at Shiokaze Park.