Current national team and double Flying Fish Beach Volleyball champions, Grant Goldschmidt and Leo Williams, have set their sights on being in Team South Africa in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
Qualifying for the games will be a tough task for the duo but there are two avenues they could go through. The most difficult of the avenues is being ranked in the Top 16 of the world and playing in those events against professional players or winning the continental qualifying events, which would give them the number one ranking in Africa.
“We have set ourselves the goal of making it to Rio for the Olympics and we know we have to consistently be at the top of our game if we want to that. In Africa, we have to play against countries like Angola, Ghana, Egypt and Nigeria who are among the best in the world,” Goldschmidt said.
The pair, who decided to become partners at the beginning of 2014, were meant to have travelled to Qatar at the beginning of November to participate in a World Series event, however due to logistical issues, were unable to do so and have now shifted to claiming a hat trick of Flying Fish Beach Volleyball Series titles when they take to the court in Polokwane.
“We have been part of the national team before but decided to become partners this year . There were some logistical issues which stopped us from going to Qatar but all that means is that our focus will now shift to Polokwane.
“We trained for the World Series event but seeing as though it fell through, we are now well prepared to claim our third title in Polokwane. We want to cement our spot as the number one team in the country,” he added.
Fortunately for them, the final World Series event will be held in Bloemfontein and the pair, who are currently ranked first in the Flying Fish Series, are almost certain of cracking an invite to the event which will provide them with an ideal opportunity to gain some ranking points in an effort to improve their overall rank.
Goldschmidt believes the advent of the Flying Fish Beach Volleyball Series has done wonders for not only the popularity of the sport, but also helped to increase the level of competition among the players participating in the series.
“The sport as a whole has seen major growth. Before this series was around, our events were few and far between, which made it hard for people to be motivated to train but that has all changed now.
“Everyone is training harder and improving their skills which makes each leg more competitive which bodes well for the sport. Taking the game to the inland provinces is in-line with the way it’s done around the world because most of the World Series events are played inland.
“The nice part of that [playing inland] is that the weather is generally better and, if it is a windy day, the wind can be negated by building stands around the courts. That’s something you can’t necessarily do on the coast,” he added.
Goldschmidt believes the experienced pair of Casey Augoustides and Colin Pocock could be the main threat to himself and Williams claiming their third consecutive title.