End of the dream for Vanuatu
Stare Jablonki, Poland, July 5, 2013 – One of the great success stories of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Miller Elwin and Henriette Iatika of Vanuatu finally had their dream run come to a close in the women’s Round of 16 at the hands of the favourites and top seeds from China Chen Xue and Xi Zhang on Friday.
Elwin and Iatika have been playing on the FIVB World Tour since 2008, their best result dating back to Shanghai 2012 when they finished 17th at the Grand Slam|
The 25 and 28-year-old respectively have hit the headlines throughout the five days of the tournament with their outstanding performances, which saw them finish third in their pool to advance to the knockout phase, record an impressive win over 15th seeds Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova in the Round of 32 before falling to Xue and Zhang Xi 2-0 (22-20, 21-11).
The result is a ninth place finish and $11,000 in prize money in their first appearance in an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships by Vanuatu.
Friday’s effort in the Round of 16 match summed up their campaign, with passionate play in the back court and determined defence. They had set point in the first set against the 2011 World Championship bronze medallists, before Xue and Zhang Xi claimed three points on the bounce before going on to win.
"We are proud of how we played against the Chinese, they are ranked number one and we are seeded 37th,” Iatika said. “Our friends and family back home are extremely proud of us, we have received plenty of messages of support.”
“After this amazing experience, we would like to continue but we have to evaluate our current situation, including our financial resources.”
Elwin and Iatika have been playing on the FIVB World Tour since 2008, their best result dating back to Shanghai 2012 when they finished 17th at the Grand Slam.
Earlier in the week, both players emphasised how important it was that they had the opportunity to make their debut at the FIVB World Championships.
“I have been training hard for the last few years and we have improved so much along the way. It’s been very difficult to leave our children and families behind to chase our dream, but now we get a chance to represent them to the best of our ability,” Elwin said.
Like other athletes, the Vanuatu women had to give up a lot to reach the top.
“I have sacrificed my life at home to become the best I can be,” Iatika said. “I have two kids who stay on the island while I am away training and competing because I want to take part. I want to make my family and country proud of me and I want to show all the young people in Vanuatu what is possible if you try hard.”
Being the first women’s team from the South Pacific to go all the way to the World Championships is a huge deal for them. Elwin: “My dad encouraged me to start playing so I would be the first person in my family to ever go on a big aeroplane. Now I hope that the people at home can follow our lead and more women and junior players will start to take part in proper sports training and try their every best. I also hope that some people back home can see at least one of our games.”
Elwin, 25, and Iatika, 28, claimed their ticket to Poland after beating Australia in the finals of the Oceania Championships in Tahiti last year.
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Tournament Page
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Women's Schedule
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Men's Schedule
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Women's Entry List
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Men's Entry List
- Ze Roberto to stay on as coach of Brazil women's team
- Walsh Jennings entering the “unknown”
- At 34, Isabelle Forrer wraps up a glittering career
- Change of guard for Venezuela's men's National Team after departure of Nacci
- “It’s been a long season”
- One month on, Rio in our hearts
- China confirm Olympic supremacy with Asian Cup title
- Men's Club World Championship takes on Olympic flavour as rosters are unveiled
- Looking back: China win Olympic gold
- Notable retirements at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals
- Beach volleyball players explore Toronto
- Where do beach volleyball players keep their Olympic medals?
- Olympic champions seeking SWATCH Finals validation
- “Johnny Hyden, young and getting younger.”
- Germans not thinking about the money
- High Stakes on Polson Pier Saturday
- How Aleksandrs “The Lion King” Samoilovs earned his nickname
- Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis watches beach volleyball match
- Epic women's SWATCH semifinals set
- Brazil, Canada, Latvia and Poland post final men's SWATCH pool wins
- Women’s elimination matches highlight Friday’s SWATCH Finals schedule
- Beach volleyball venue earning rave reviews in Toronto
- German gals add drama to their talent
- Polish Pride on Polson Pier
- Busy Beach Volleyball schedule for Polson Pier Thursday
- Hyden's clock still ticking in Toronto
- Brazilians, Canadians & Swiss post opening women’s SWATCH Finals wins
- 2017 World Grand Prix draw completed - Olympic champions China to play silver medallists Serbia in Week 3
- Increase in teams and record prize money headlines World Grand Prix Council meeting
- Referee preparation programme praised
- FIVB Volleyball House wins award for best hospitality house of Olympic Games in Legacy category
- Beach Volleyball vibes in Canada
- Olympic final rematch confirmed as 2017 World League draw completed
- Quality and consistency key to success of a global World League
- SWATCH birthday present awaits Bansley?
- Rio 2016 stars to descend on Manila for Club World Champs
- Toronto becomes the “Capital of Beach Volleyball”
- As the Mikasa Turns - Bansley & Pavan "split" conversation
- Argentina win U23 Men’s Pan American Cup
- TALKIN’ STATS: Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals Preview
- Toronto's Tuesday Trial - Pavan’s pristine picture?
- Smashed, tied, revised or still standing: The Records of Rio 2016
- Pools and schedule outlined for Men's Club World Champs
- Trentino, UPCN and Bolivar join top teams at Men’s Club World Champs
- Lupo and Nicolai staying grounded despite Rio silver
- Schedule set as World Tour Finals countdown enters final week
- A month after opening, Brazil still bask in Rio 2016 gold glory
- Relive Egypt's Olympic beach volleyball debut
- One month after first serve, memories of Rio still stay strong
- Reminiscing Rio and the delights of Copacabana