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Bring on the World Cup - Natalie Cook


Lausanne, Switzerland, May 28, 2013 – Following hot on the heels of the Corrientes Grand Slam, Australian beach volleyball legend, Natalie Cook, gives us her impressions of the action on the courts over the five day event.

“What a tournament in Corrientes. For them to organise a Grand Slam in their first year shows what a great effort they put it.

“Night games are always a spectacle for our sport and all the athletes love going to new locations. I am sure the new event in Argentina, with the historical success of Martin Conde and Mariano Baracetti and the support from the fans, will live on for a long time.

“As for the winners, the Dutch girls Madelein Meppelink and Sophie van Gestel, it was an amazing result.

“As two tall, strong dynamic athletes, it was only a matter of time before they won gold. They launched onto the FIVB World Tour in 2011 and have just made huge steps. This is a great result for them and in a year of opportunity they have stamped some authority on the Tour.

“Both players have all the skills, at the net and in defence as well. Every chance they get they have been coached by Victor Anfiloff to power the ball in offence and transition and this is a huge advantage for them. Throw in their height and ball control and you have a great recipe for success.

“It was interesting to again see three German teams in the top eight and they are proving to have strength in depth.

“Then there were the Brazilians taking the silver and the bronze medals; Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli will be stoked to have won their first medal as a pair and Carolina and Maria Clara are returning to their best form of a few years ago with another bronze.

“Olympic silver medallists April Ross and Jennifer Kessy of the USA will be disappointed to miss out on the medals, but they showed that they are back in the hunt.

“Personally it was great to see the Aussie pair, Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy earning a good ninth place finish at a Grand Slam. In Clancy's first year this is great experience for her. Knowing they have big goals, I look forward to watching their progress.

“We now have a couple of weeks before the start of the next Grand Slam in The Hague. During that time some teams will go onto Brazil for the World Cup final. This is brand new event and exciting for our sport. I can't wait to see it.

“Others will take the opportunity to get some training in before The Hague and work on the fine tuning of skills and strategy. Serving, passing and transition are key parts of the game to work on in season. What an exciting few weeks ahead. Bring on the World Cup.”

Natalie Cook became the first Australian women to participate in five successive Olympic Games and is the only women to play in all five Olympic beach volleyball events. After making her debut on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 1993, Cook went on to win a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics and 2000 Olympic gold with Kerri Pottharst, before finishing fourth in Athens, fifth in Beijing and retiring after a 19th-place finish at the London Olympics. She is now running her own company Sandstorm which runs Oz Volley and Surf Volley programs, whilst ensuring new beach volleyball courts are being built off the beach to support the demand and the growth of beach volleyball.

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