Volleyball duo’s tough battle on the Rio sand

Olympic beach volleyball player Louise Bawden

In a hard-fought match against the USA, Griffith University alumna Louise Bawden and her beach volleyball partner Taliqua Clancy just missed out on making it into the semi-finals at the Rio Olympics.

Sixteen years after her Olympic debut in Sydney, where she represented Australia in indoor volleyball, Louise has made a third Olympic appearance with her Rio campaign.

The Bachelor of Communication alumna completed her Griffith University degree online in 2015 while preparing for Rio, after earlier teaming up with Teliqua, a rising talent in the sport.

The formidable duo put up a strong contest early in the Rio Games, beating both Costa Rica and Venezuela 2-0. After a 2-1 win against both the Netherlands and then Poland, they proved Australia to be a noteworthy beach volleyball contender by making it into the quarter finals.

However their dream of an Olympic podium were dashed when they were knocked outby USA’s Kerry Walsh-Jennings and April Ross.

An impressive duo

Despite an 11-year age difference, Louise teamed up with Teliqua, the first Indigenous Australian volleyballer to represent Australia at the Olympics, in 2012. They went on to win their first national tour event in the same year. The pair reached world number five and won the Asian Championships in 2014.

At the end of the world ranking qualification period in June 2016, the Aussie duo secured seventh spot to qualify for the Olympics.

Remarkable career

Louise’s absence from the Olympic stage from 2000-03 was due to playing indoor volleyball professionally in the Netherlands.

Living in Adelaide, she made the switch to beach volleyball in 2009 and was crowned the FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) World Tour Rookie of the Year. In the same year, Louise won silver at the 2009 FIVB World Tour in Poland.

Teaming up with Becchara Palmer for the 2012 London Games, she finished 19th after three tough matches.

Contributed by Joseph O’Rourke