AUSTRALIA DISCOVERS NEW GOLDEN GIRLS ON THE BEACH IN JAPAN
They went to Japan as a trial new partnership just to see how they might click with Commonwealth games selections around the corner. Well click they have! The new pairing of Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar has struck Gold at their first major tournament together. Cruising past Indonesia in the final of the Osaka Open in straight sets. 21-10 , 21-11.
Australia senior Women’s coach Simon Naismith couldn’t contain his delight with the win “We thought we’d be able to come here and give the Gold Medal a good shake but it was really unknown how our skills would be so early in the season but the girls were just fantastic this whole tournament.”
The dynamic duos path to the final was no easy one, having to face all the top guns including fellow Aussies Jess Ngaumo and Clancy’s Rio Olympics partner the experienced Louise Bawden.
“The girls on their way to winning gold beat the three best teams. Australians Bawden/Ngaumo , Japan earlier today in Semi Final and Indonesia. They’ve gone the long way but it’s great to beat the three best teams and finish on top of the podium.” Says their coach.
Clancy says she didn’t take great pleasure out of beating up on fellow Aussies “Its never nice to verse Australia. We both want each other to do well . We all know each other well and despite the score board it’s never an easy game when you’re playing your home country”
The secret to the girls success so quickly? Their trust in each other says Artacho del Solar“Its very exciting winning our first tournament together not dropping a set it feels surreal its an exciting win for us and for Australia exciting times ahead”
So will the new successful duo stay together through to the three compulsory Commonwealth selection events in Australia?
“We are just going to take it one tournament at a time. We've got China next week then another one in Indonesia.. and see what happens” says Artacho del Solar.
And Clancy agrees its too early to say “We haven’t had that conversation we both just spoke about this tour and see what we could do and where we could get our game to that’s all that we are really focusing on right now”
As for the coach well he’s hoping Bawden and Ngaumo will now accept the challenge “At this point it’s a wait and see. We wanted to change things up after the European season and provide opportunities for our big depth we have. These girls have done really well but hopefully next week both teams can fight hard and push towards podium again”
The pairings for now will stay as they are for the rest of the Asian Tour. It remains to be seen how they will line up when they return to Australia at the end of the month for the Commonwealth Games selection tournaments.
Meanwhile our only men’s team in Japan finished a credible 5th. Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert going down to the eventual Bronze medal winners Indonesia in the quarter finals.
Schubert says the big goal is still in the sights.
“Cole and myself have been working really hard towards our common goal ( Olympics). We faced some really strong teams during the event and we were able to find a way to win the close three set matches.”
“Unfortunately we couldn't find it against Indonesia but the growth within our team is there. We still have the comm games insight and we are keen to fight again in china on Thursday”
"We will keep fighting for Australia so if we do get the opportunity to play at the commonwealth games we will be ready".