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Aust books second Rio beach volley berth

  • Aust books second Rio beach volley berth

    Australia has qualified a second women's beach volleyball team for the Rio Olympics.

Australia has qualified a second women's beach volleyball team for the Rio Olympics, winning gold at the Asian continental qualifiers.

But the country will once again be without a men's team.

Top seeds and under-23 world champions Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho del Solar beat Vanuatu in three sets in Cairns on Sunday, before Australia's other pair Becchara Palmer and Phoebe Bell defeated Vanuatu's second team in straight sets.

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Selectors will now need to decide which team to nominate to join already-selected duo Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy, who are seeded seventh at August's Games after qualifying automatically via the world rankings earlier this month.

Laird and Artacho had the tough task of facing Vanuatu's top team of Miller Pata and Linline Matauata, who only narrowly missed out on direct qualification via the world rankings and had ominously disposed of China's highly rated side in Saturday's semi-finals.

Vanuatu took the opening set in heavy rain but Australia fought back to win the second.

They then held on in a nail-biting final stanza, converting their fifth match point for a 19-21 21-18 19-17 triumph.

However there was disappointment for Australia's men, who lost their bronze-medal play-off against Kazakhstan.

A win would have booked them a place at next month's final Olympic play-offs in Sochi.

But after being locked at one match each, Australia's top duo Chris McHugh and Isaac Kapa couldn't hold on in a rematch against Kazakhstan's Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko.

Qatar will have a beach volleyball team at the Olympics for the first time, after they beat China 2-0 in the gold-medal play-off.

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