A pack crowd on centre court cheering on Aussie athletes in two medal games provided the perfect end to the Surf Coast’s first beach volleyball extravaganza.
Great Ocean Road Beach Volleyfest director Greg Jury said Torquay’s community had got behind the 12-day event.
“The community really embraced the Beach Volleyfest, it was just awesome to witness first-hand, and to have the Aussies make the finals, provided that patriotic element for the locals,” he said.
Australians Thomas Hodges and Zachery Schubert claimed silver in the Elite 16 event in Torquay Saturday night, with France’s Youssef Krou and Arnaud Gauthier-Rat taking home gold.
In the women’s Elite 16, Olympic silver medallists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar also took home a medal for Australia, defeating American pairing Kristen Nuss and Taryn Kloth in the women’s bronze medal final, capping off a stellar night and event.
Mr Jury estimated upward of 20,000 people made their way through the gates at the Beach Volleyfest to watch the athletes in action, share a meal or enjoy some of the live entertainment on offer.
“Particularly on the World Tour, brackets are typically played in key iconic locations, so for a lot of the athletes to be competing in Torquay might have been a little different to what they are used to.
“But Torquay is really well-known across the globe with events like the WSL’s Rip Curl Pro and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, so for us it provided a wonderful backdrop to hold this event.”
Surf Coast Shire mayor Liz Pattison said it was terrific to see warmer conditions on the final weekend of Volleyfest action, drawing big crowds to wrap up the event.
“Volleyfest was a unique concept as it saw the integration of two international events and one national-level event over a 12-day period,” Cr Pattison said.
“The international visitation from participants, travel parties and officials that the event generated gave our economy a welcome boost. It also resulted in a global reach – through both on ground support and broadcast coverage.
“While it was a new event for our region, we would be open to supporting its return.
Surf Coast Times story here.
Photo credit: Big server Zachery Schubert lets one fly in the gold medal game on Saturday. Photos: PETER MARSHALL