World Championship bid begins

Two months in Europe might sound like a holiday for most, but for beach volleyballers Sam O’Dea and Mike Watson, it represents more than 60 days of hard slog.

The Mount Maunganui pair recently winged their way to Zurich in Switzerland - the first stop in a busy training and preparation schedule ahead of June’s World Championships in the Netherlands.

“We are flying into Zurich and traveling by train to Lucerne to compete in the first of three tournaments in Switzerland,” says O’Dea.

“We will then travel to Germany, were we have been invited to train with the German national team.

“We have also applied for two Wild Cards into German national tour events, which we are hoping to play.”

As summer approaches in Europe, the beach volleyball season is picking up speed and this week in Cyprus, all eyes are on Olympic qualifying in the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup.

In Germany, the first event of the Smart Beach Tour takes place, and next week the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour will stop in Switzerland for the Lucerne Open.

June’s World Championships will be staged across four cities in the Netherlands, with a $1 million prize pool.

O’Dea and Watson will play their pool matches in Amsterdam, consisting of the World No.1 side of Sean Rosenthal and Phil Dalhusser (USA), the Australian pairing of Isaac Kapa and Chris McHugh, ranked 23rd, and 26th ranked Alexandr Dyachenko and Alexey Sidorenko from Kazakhstan.

“Our goal for the tournament is a top 10 finish,” explains O’Dea, “which would get the attention of our national funding body, High Performance Sport New Zealand. It will be a tough task for us, but we love a challenge.”

Before heading to Switzerland the pair spent 10 days back in the Bay of Plenty, regrouping after some strong showings on the Asian Tour.

They competed in Fuzhou, China in what was their first World Tour event of the year. The new season sees 65 men’s teams from 31 countries and 57 women’s teams from 25 countries officially entered in a talented field.




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