Bawden and Clancy. Has a pretty great ring to it, doesn’t it? Sounds like a 1980’s British detective show, about a couple of crime solving, wise cracking best mates.
But the real Bawden and Clancy storyline is even more entertaining - the pair will form Australia’s beach volleyball contingent, after winning selection via a gruelling 15 month qualification period.
Clancy, 23, will become Australia’s first Indigenous Olympian in the sport and Bawden, 34, is off to her third Games, 16 years after her first.
They’ll be the number 7 seeds in Rio.
Bawden played indoor volleyball at Sydney 2000 and beach with Becchara Palmer at London 2012
“Selection is very exciting and I feel very fortunate to be going to a third Games but the job is not done,” Bawden said.
“Seeded seventh is a good position to be in, but we are always wanting more. We are doing everything possible to produce our strongest performances and win an Olympic medal on the beach in Rio.”
For Clancy, the gravity of her achievement is only starting to hit.
“I’m starting to realise how special it is for me and my culture. I hope I can inspire people to dream and do things that haven’t been done before."
Clancy is from Kingaroy in Queensland, a town 200km inland from the nearest beach.
At 16, and became part of the Australian beach volleyball program in Adelaide.
Bawden and Clancy will now travel back to Europe for the Major Series event in Switzerland.
With the final make-up of teams yet to be determined, they may not be the only Aussie pair on the Olympic sand - Australia can qualify one more women’s team and a men’s team for Rio through the Asia- Pacific Continental Cup Final currently being held in Cairns.
The top men’s and women’s team at the tournament will book a spot, while the second and third placed teams get one last shot in Russia next month.
Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar were second at the Asian Championships on Manly Beach and they’ll be looking go one better in Cairns.
Bawden’s former playing partner Palmer and former Australian indoor player, Phoebe Bell, will make up the second team.