MARIAFE ARTACHO DEL SOLAR –
I’m really enjoying playing beach volleyball alongside Taliqua Clancy.
I’ve known “T” for so many years now; we first played with each other in our junior years in 2012 where we achieved a bronze medal in the World Championships.
We’ve been around each other so long, that we know each other very well!
“T” is a great athlete and brings so much to the court – her inner strength and competitiveness are two qualities I admire most in her.
I think just the both of us, being on the same page, has really helped in our transition in partnership and made the whole process a lot easier.
It’s been really fun teaming up, and really cementing our partnership prior to our first world event in Japan last month.
We were over the moon with our results on tour – we knew we could win but didn’t know how far we’d go.
We connected straight away on the court.
I think the trust and believe we have for one another has made things so smooth. It was definitely a big factor in our success to this point.
The World Tour event in China was what really validated what we believe we had.
We won the event without dropping a set – had you said to us that we would be that prior to the championship, we would have told you you were dreaming!
It’s so rare for any group, at any event, to go through a tournament without losing a set, so that was pretty cool.
There’s a lot of motivation to see where we can take our game, not only as a team but individually. I’m really excited to just keep working hard and see how hard I can push myself to be the best I can be.
In terms of my major goal, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is the pinnacle for me right now, but intermediately the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is a strong focus, with the opportunity to represent for and play in my home country.
We know we have some confidence behind us now, with our recent play, but there are still a few events to go until the selection process.
If we do have the opportunity to play together at the commonwealth games, I’m confident we would both do our nation proud, and have the skill and trust to make a strong push for the gold medal rounds.
One of our goals is to get medals for our sport and that’s only going to help the growth of the sport in the country and get more media attention, which is what we want.
The thing about playing with Taliqua is it’s just so much fun both on and off the court.
I’m not too sure what the future holds for us, but I’m hopeful we will be able to enjoy it together.