Families come together to cheer on Australian Olympic beach volleyball duo from afar

Australian beach volleyball duo Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar have made a winning start to their Olympic campaign, with their families and fans cheering them on from afar.

Family members of beach volleyball duo Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar are watching their Olympic endeavors from Australia.

Family members of beach volleyball duo Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar are watching their Olympic endeavors from Australia. Source: Supplied

Last year was set to mark one of many milestones for the families of Australian beach volleyball Olympians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar.

They had flights, accommodation, and tickets locked in for the Tokyo Olympics, and a wedding organised for Artacho Del Solar and her fiance.

In a disappointing turn of events, the Olympics were postponed to 2021 without international spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But one year on, the families of the duo haven't let their lack of proximity to the Games hinder their excitement. 

Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and her husband Jack Curtin.
Source: Supplied

The families watched their pair's Tokyo debut on Sunday via a projector in Brisbane, with Queensland one of the few locations in Australia where live viewing parties are allowed amid tight coronavirus restrictions.

With a straight-sets win 21 to 15, 21 to 14 under their belt, the duo are off to a promising start at this year's Games.

"It's super amazing to be able to get Taliqua's family, Mariafe's family and friends here in Brisbane, put it on the projector and get the girls to do their thing," said Jack Curtin, Artacho Del Solar's new husband, whom she married at a registry in November in a far cry from their original wedding plans. 

Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Taliqua Clancy
Source: Supplied

Artacho Del Solar's mother watched from her home in Peru with her partner, with visitors prohibited under the country's strict coronavirus restrictions.

Artacho Del Solar, 27, migrated to Australia from Peru when she was 11 years old, and 29-year-old Clancy is a Wulli Wulli woman from Kingaroy.

Clancy's aunt, Kathleen Cush, said her niece was passionate about representing Aboriginal people in the sport. 

"Our family is so very proud of her and I know that are a lot of her cousins and aunties just thrilled to see her out there," Ms Cush said.

Taliqua with her family.
Source: Supplied

The athletes have known each other since they were juniors, coming together at the Junior World Championships in 2012.

"It's so lovely to see their friendship grow but also their partnership on the court grow together," Ms Cush said.

Artacho Del Solar's mother, Isabel, said was disappointed that she couldn't be in Tokyo by her daughter's side but she was still as proud as ever.

"It's been a long road for her but she's made it, she's making it ... it's not an easy road to be an athlete, you have to be so strong in mind and heart," Isabel said.

"You feel like ... it's like your whole soul, body, mind. It's a complete joy you know. [It's] Such a good feeling when your daughter or son makes it to the Olympics."

Mariafe as a child.
Source: Supplied

During the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Clancy and Artacho Del Solar won silver on home sand on the Gold Coast, and they've had multiple wins on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and a World Championship bronze medal.  

Artacho Del Solar and Clancy were fresh off a gold medal in the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball Beach Volleyball World Tour in Cancun in May when they set off for Tokyo this year.

"No matter what happens [in Tokyo], everyone's going to be super proud but we're cheering them on to go the whole way," said Mr Curtin.      

The families are confident they will bring home a medal.

"I think they are absolutely capable of medalling, there's no doubt in my mind - [they are] two of the best player in the world, the best team in the world," said Ms Cush. 

With Mikele Syron.

Published 27 July 2021 at 1:41pm, updated 27 July 2021 at 1:48pm
By Bernadette Clarke