15 Feb 2012

Sport: Vanuatu women pleased with strong buildup to volleyball qualifiers

12:04 pm on 15 February 2012

Vanuatu's Olympic volleyball hopes go on the line on Thursday when the Asian Continental Cup Qualifying tournament begins in New Zealand.

The country's top pairing of Miller Elwin and Henriette Iatika will be joined by Joyce Joshua and Linline Matauatu, along with two teams each from Australia, Fiji and hosts New Zealand.

The top three teams move through to the next qualifying phase in China in June, with the winner of that tournament guaranteed a spot in the London games.

The President of the Vanuatu Volleyball Federation, Debbie Masaufakalo, says it's been a long journey funded through a lot of goodwill and community support.

She says with the finish line in sight the teams are well prepared.

"We have a good coaching staff, high performance, nutritionists - their bodies, their minds - they couldn't be any better prepared. And also going on the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Tour this season has been fantastic because New Zealand's had teams from Netherlands, Germany, USA. We've been playing against the best teams in the world for the past three weeks so you couldn't ask for anything more."

Vanuatu also has two men's teams competing in New Zealand, where their biggest challenge will come from Pacific and Oceania champions Fiji.