Qataris and Aussies seal Rio qualification at AVC Continental Cup

 

Jefferson (left) and Cherif are likely to be celebrating Rio qualification

Cairns, Australian, June 26, 2016 – Qatar will be represented at an Olympic Games beach volleyball tournament for the first time after their men’s teams won the AVC Continental Cup on Sunday. 

Hosts Australia won women’s gold and they will now have a second team to travel to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games alongside the already-qualified Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy. 

Countries are represented by two teams at the Continental Cup and matches are played over the best of three rubbers. Qatar were represented by Jefferson Pereira and Cherif Younousse and Julio Junior and Ahmed Tijan.

Jefferson and Cherif are the pair likely to travel to Rio having won the Kish Island Open in February this year and reached the Netherlands 2015, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships quarterfinals. 




“We worked so hard for this moment,” Jefferson, a Rio native, said. “The last month was so stressful, we trained just for this moment. 

“Everyone left their family and went outside to train, it was so stressful, but we did it. We are going to the Olympics. We are now part of the history of Qatar now.

“The country has no history in beach volleyball, I moved to Qatar to try and raise beach volleyball, and now we have made a huge step towards growing the sport in Qatar.” 

Australia will now need to decide which two players to nominate to the Australian Olympic Committee, after first Nicole Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar, and then Becchara Palmer and Phoebe Bell, beat their Vanuatu opponents to book Australia’s Rio ticket.

“The last two months, when we brought the team together, they bought in 100 percent as a team,” Australian coach Lauren Soderberg said.

“Nikki and Mariafe have been asked so many tough questions over the last two months to be better, and to make sure they were on their game, and they did it. I just feel so proud to be part of this Australian team today.”
   
China and Kazakhstan, who won silver and bronze in the men’s competition and Vanuatu and China, the women’s silver and bronze medallists will now have one last chance to reach Rio 2016 when they face the other Continental Cup silver and bronze medal winners at the final Olympic qualifiers in Sochi, Russia, from July 6-10.

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