Australia competing for first Games gold in beach volleyball
KINGAROY'S Taliqua Clancy will play in the Commonwealth Games beach volleyball grand final against Canada tonight.
Clancy and team mate Mariafe Artacho Del Solar will compete against the world number one team, Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Padres, who have also gone through the competition undefeated.
Clancy told Volleyball Australia the grand final would be a tough, but exciting game.
"This is what we play for, we don't come here to play the weakest team, we come here to play the strong teams,” she said.
The athlete's aunt, Kathleen Cush said tough games like tonight's match was why Taliqua competed.
"I have no doubt it'll be a tougher match for them, but that's why they've trained so hard and why they're athletes, to look forward to the competition,” she said.
Five-time beach volleyball Olympian Natalie Cook said Taliqua was one of the world's best and competes with flair, confidence and spunk.
"I am looking forward to watching her in the green and gold,” she said.
The 25 year-old was Australia's first Indigenous beach volleyballer to compete at an Olympic Games when she competed in Rio in 2016, and will now make more Games history.
Beach volleyball made its debut at the Commonwealth Games this year, and the Kingaroy athlete and her partner will make history as the first Australians to medal in the event.
"It's a huge achievement for them, regardless of whether they go away with a gold or silver, and everyone is really proud of them,” Mrs Cush said.
Their accomplishments have done great things for Australian beach volleyball, as a lot of people had not seen the game professionally, she said.
"It's Taliqua's opportunity to share with Australia, and the rest of the world, the sport she really loves through the Commonwealth Games, and that's really exciting,” Mrs Cush said.
Mininster for Sport Mick de Breni said Taliqua's commitment to the sport reflected the Queensland spirit of pride, passion and perseverance.
"Taliqua is an inspiration to so many beach volleyball fans and it is fantastic news that she will be representing Queensland on the international stage,” he said.
"I'm sure I join with all Queenslanders in wishing Taliqua all the best for her final preparations for tonight -the whole country is behind you.”
Mrs Cush said the family was extremely stoked for the Australian team on their achievement in the competition.
"We're going to see them on the medal podium, no matter what,” she said.
Taliqua's mum, grandparents, aunties, extended family and school friends from Kingaroy will be cheering in the stands at the Coolangatta stadium.
Her great aunties have also made the trip down to the Gold Coast, excited to finally see her play beach volleyball after hearing Taliqua's sporting stories while she was growing up, Mrs Cush said.
"A huge thank you to the South Burnett community from all of the Clancys for all of their support and everyone who will be cheering her on tonight,” she said.
The grand final kicks off on Coolangatta Beach at 8.30pm tonight.