2016 RIO Olympians, Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, and 2012 Olympian Becchara Palmer are heading a quality field of nominations for nextmonth’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in Shepparton.
Teams from around the globe have entered the two-day event, to be held on the weekend of March 4 and 5.
Along with a strong Australian contingent, teams from the USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and several European powerhouses, including Germany and Italy, have nominated for the men’s and women’s event.
Laird and del Solar played alongside each other on Rio’s Copacabana Beach at last year’s Olympics, but will play with different partners in Shepparton.
Laird will play alongside Australian squad member, Phoebe Bell, while del Solar will partner Britt Kendall as part of a six-strong Australian assault on the FIVB title.
Bell and Kendall teamed up for Australia at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Palmer, who played alongside three-time Olympian, Louise Bawden, at the 2012 London Olympics, will team up with Queensland’s Jessyka Ngauamo.
In the men’s draw, internationally experienced Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann will team up for the first time to lead Australia’s charge.
Australia will have six teams in the men’s competition, including Cole Durant and Zachery Schubert, who have won two events on the Australian beach tour this summer.
Another former team, Australia’s Christie Jenkins and American Brittany Tiegs, will also find themselves on opposite sides of the net in Shepparton.
Tickets for the event’s final day at Shepparton on March 5 are available at www.volleyballaustralia.org.au