In the men’s, World Championship qualifiers Josh Court and Damien Schumann will be joined by two of the stars of the future, Max Guehrer and Zach Schubert.

In the women’s draw, Olympians Becchara Palmer and Tamsin Hinchley have teamed up together and will provide plenty of intrigue over the next couple of weekends.

They’ll be joined by Queensland sisters Jordan and Justine Mowen.

The venue is nowhere near a beach, and according to the players, the surface is going to leave plenty of grazing.

“We’ve trained the past two days, and it hasn’t been too hot – at least by Thai standards,” Schumann said.

“Trainings been good, the courts are not permanent so they have put sand down on the ground and its similar to playing on hardcourt, exept its much harder.

“The courts are watered and in the hot sun it basically turns to clay. I’ve never worn ankle braces, but I just might have to!”

Court and Schumann, known as two of the biggest eaters on the Australian tour, also had trouble getting through Bangkok customs with their excess luggage.

The problem was the extra cans of tuna they’d packed for China. So they loaded up their backpacks and clattered their way on to the plane.


Australia has qualified two women’s and two men’s teams for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands in June.

It’s a great result for the sport in Australia, and a good sign just over 12 months out from the Rio Olympics.

Australian top seeds, Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy, have been drawn in Pool H, playing at The Hague.

On paper it looks like a good group for the Australians, with the biggest danger coming from the experienced Spaniards, Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez. Bawden and Clancy have locked horns with the Europeans on six occasions, with Baquerizo and Fernandez triumphing at five of those outings.

Australia’s World Under 23 champions, Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, will find themselves in Apeldoorn in Pool C, and will also find themselves up against the most formidable female beach volleyball player ever.

Reading the playing record of America’s Kerri Walsh Jennings is enough to make any player quiver.

Three Olympic gold medals, three World Championship gold medals – do we need to go further.

But those triumphs all came alongside Misty May-Treanor, who has now retired. But Walsh Jennings new partner, April Ross, is no slouch.

Ross is a London 2012 Olympic silver medalist, for starters.

In everyone’s favour is that Walsh Jennings and Ross are not getting any younger. There combined age at the World Championships will be 68.

Compare that with Laird and Artacho del Solar, combined age less than 45. Throw in their youthful exuberance and undoubted improvement since the under 23’s, and the Manly pair have every right to believe.

In the men’s competition, Australia’s top-ranked pairing of Isaac Kapa and Chris McHugh also have an Olympic gold medalist to deal with in Pool B in Amsterdam.

American Phil Dalhausser won gold in Beijing, playing alongside Todd Rogers, but these days he’s playing with Sean Rosenthal.

But the top seeds should hold no fear for the Australians, who knocked them off on their way to winning bronze at the prestigious Klagenfurt tour event last year.

The biggest problem for the Australians could be the lack of recent match practice, with Kapa missing the entire Australian summer after shoulder surgery.

Damien Schumann and Josh Court have literally sold their shorts to help fund their world tour, and they’ve been rewarded with a berth at this year’s World Championships.

They’ve wound up in Pool C at Apeldoorn, a mixed group headed by Brazilians Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt, Olympic silver medalists.