Women’s beach volleyball pair Kelsie Wills and Shaunna Polley have been named to the New Zealand team for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The pair have been selected following a successful international season which included a bronze medal performance at the 2017 Ulsan 1 Star World Tour Event in Korea.
Beach volleyball is making its Commonwealth Games debut at Gold Coast 2018 and 24 year old Shaunna Polley is excited to be one of the first New Zealanders to compete for her sport at the games.
“It’s a huge honour and it’s going to be pretty special to represent our country on the international stage against some great teams,” she said.
“We’ve put in a huge amount of work to make it to this point so we’re really pleased to be named and we can’t wait to compete in the Commonwealth Games”.
Polley has competed on the Gold Coast before and says the conditions can be tricky.
“The sand’s really deep over there and that makes it harder to jump high so that’s a factor to consider and we’ll be training to mitigate that.”
25 year old Kelsie Wills, who has played indoor volleyball professionally in France, is expecting stiff competition.
“Australia, Canada and Vanuatu are some of the really strong teams, they’re some of the best in the world but we’re up for the challenge and we’ll be ready for them,” she said.
“After a year of working full time and travelling to competitions and trying to meet criteria it’s such a great feeling to be named to the team and to get to represent New Zealand and wear the fern”.
Above: Shaunna Polley (left) and Kelsie Wills
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the pair.
“Kelsie and Shaunna have put in a lot of work to get to where they are and should be extremely proud of making the team in the face of stiff competition.”
“Beach volleyball is a great spectator sport and I have no doubt that they’ll be supported by a strong contingent of Kiwi fans on the Gold Coast in April.”
Volleyball New Zealand CEO Paul Cameron says the organisation is extremely pleased to have its first beach athletes selected for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
"It’s a very exciting time for volleyball in New Zealand. We have an extremely high calibre of players with outstanding talent coming through the ranks," he said.
"Kelsie and Shaunna have worked extremely hard over the past twelve months achieving some great international success and fully deserve to be selected as the women's combination for the Commonwealth Games."
Polley and Wills compete in the Waikato Open beach volleyball competition tomorrow before heading to international competitions in Australia and the US as they prepare for Gold Coast 2018.