Vanuatu Volleyball under 19 men and women players are in good shape and are in training with the Vanuatu beach volleyball coach in Australia Shanon Zunker, in getting ready to compete in the U 19 world championship, in Nanjing, China.

The players and assistant coach Joshua Toares have already flown out of the country on 4th of July, to Brisbane to train a few days with head coach Shanon on the Gold Coast. Vanuatu is the only Pacific country competing in the U19 FIVB World Championship, joining Australia and New Zealand from Oceania.

The men team of Nono Chilia and James Chilia will be playing in the main draw tournament, and the women team of Luduine Tebeim and Maybel Ravo will be playing in the Quarter finals (Qualification Event) on the 9th July. The top winning 4 teams from the single elimination qualification event will headway into the Main Draw, and the top 32 team event will begin on the 10th of July.

In the Main Draw which the Vanuatu U19 men team will be playing in, is their last chance into qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games which will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. If the boys come 16th or 18th in their matches they will be qualified to play in the Buenos Aires, and from there they will then know what team they would play against in the Youth Olympic Games in October 2018.

“Both the girls and boys teams are responding well to the training. We only had time for 4 x 2.5hr sessions (one went a little longer) but in such a short time I mainly need to try and help them develop a competitive mindset to lead into the tournament and fine tune their basic skills. They will face the best players in the world for their age group and those teams will be internationally successful so they need to try and prepare for something they have never done to this point! They all listen well and I see them incorporate my advice into their performance regularly, said Coach Shanon Zunker.

He continued to say that he and the players have spent some time working on some basic skills such as passing and setting. “Particularly for the girls this is lacking and ultimately without the basics the girls have limited options for attack. For all of them its technique based corrections however in 2-3 days it is very hard to change old habits. Like I said though they are trying.”

“I have also put a strong focus on them improving communication skills with each other. It’s such a big thing in beach volleyball however surprisingly lacking in Vanuatu athletes. Regular feedback to each other in games and celebrating the Points a bit more. This will hopefully improve unity in our teams,” said Shanon.

“The boys will need a very special performance to give them a chance at qualifying for the youth Olympics I know that his is possible. I have watched and coached them many times and even played against them and feel they have a game to match some of the best junior teams in the world. It will be their confidence that allows them to shine or lack of that will be their undoing. I don’t want to focus on them qualifying but just playing each game to their best,” he said.

The FIVB U19 Championships will kick starts on the 9th July, the Vanuatu beach volleyball team is proudly supported by VASANOC, Air Vanuatu and Project Clothing. Also with a donation of 25000VT from the Shefa Provincial Government Council towards the U19 beach volleyball players.

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor


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