Vanuatu has warmed up for the Olympic qualifiers with a second place finish in the New Zealand Beach Volleyball Tour finals, which came to a close in Mount Maunganui yesterday.
Loti Joe and Linline Matauatu had advanced to the semi finals without dropping a set, where they defeated a Canadian pairing of Amanda Harnett and Marie-Christine Lapointe in three sets.
The Melanesian duo, who won gold together at the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila, pushed hard in the final against New Zealand's number one pairing of Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley, before eventually going down 21-18 21-18 in a tough battle.
It was a particularly impressive result for Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Matauatu, who has only recently returned to international competition after time off for the birth of her second child just six months ago.
Next up is the Asian Volleyball Confederation Continental Cup, where Vanuatu will be vying to secure qualification to the Tokyo Olympics.
The Oceania Zone qualifier, which begins in Mount Maunganui on Tuesday, runs for three days and is the first of three tournaments in the qualification process with Joe and Linline Matauatu joined in the main draw by Vanuatu's top pairing, Pacific Games gold medallists Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko.
The event was originally scheduled to take place in December in Fiji but was postponed due to concerns over potential health risks following the outbreak of measles in parts of the Pacific region late last year.
Vanuatu will be one of four Oceania teams participating, joining New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu in the bid to be the one team which goes straight into the Continental Cup final in late June. The team which places second will advance to the Cup semi final to be held in early June.