The Vanuatu women's beach volleyball team is one step away from the Olympic Games after winning the Asian Continental Cup's Oceania Qualifier.
Taking on tournament hosts New Zealand in yesterday's final in Mount Maunganui, Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko defeated Francesca Kirwan and Olivia MacDonald in straight sets (21-16 21-12) in the opening match before Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley returned serve against Linline Matauatu and Loti Joe (21-15 21-18) to send the final to a "golden decider".
Pata and Toko once again came up trumps, defeating Tilley and Polley 21-19 21-14 to advance to the Continental Cup final in China in June, from which the winner will qualify for Tokyo.
Vanuatu coach Michel Bargmann was thrilled with his team's performance in front of a partisan New Zealand crowd.
"It's not that easy in front of the home crowd of the Kiwis," he said.
"It's a great spot. It was very windy, that was hard as well, but the girls did a very great job - it was good that we had the tournament last weekend so it was a great preparation.
"In the end yeah it's about beach volleyball but mental is the other thing and the girls just did it, they played the level they can play and it makes me really proud."
Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley had already beaten Vanuatu's number two pairing of Linline Matauatu and Loti Joe in the New Zealand Beach Tour Finals last weekend.
But, even with Pacific Games champions Miller Pata and Sherysyn Toko back on board, Michel Bargmann said the current world rankings made the final a difficult proposition.
"The world ranking decides which team is one and which team is two for a country and because Polley and Tilley, the New Zealand team two in this tournament, is normally their team one but they didn't play so much international tournaments," he said.
"That made it really tricky for us because the normal team two played our team one and the normal team one played our team two...but in the end we were prepared for this golden set and I think it was good for us that we saw the girls before so we prepared a good tactic and made the game."
Despite sealing their place in the Asian Continental Cup final, there is no time for the Vanuatu team to rest on their laurels.
The squad flies out to Australia today and will be back on the sand from Wednesday at the FIVB World Tour event at Coolangatta Beach.
With a number of tournaments around the world already cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, Bargmann said every opportunity they had to compete between now and June was crucial.
"We're going to Coolangatta - that is one tournament - then we are going back for six weeks to Vanuatu because all the tournaments are cancelled around the world and then we will see," he said.
"Then there are four tournaments in a row in Europe so we might go to Europe but until now we don't know if they are cancelled or not but the plan for now is to go to Europe in May and then come back, rest one week, prepare for the finals and go to the finals."
The coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of uncertainty, both on tour and with the fate of the Tokyo Olympics, but Bargmann said he had tried to keep those concerns away from the players so they could focus on their work.
"It's pushing us a lot and we need this push to have good attitude and to work hard back in Vanuatu at home because we will not have many tournaments in the next two months because of the coronavirus. Until now it's not sure where the final will be so it will be very interesting," he said.
"It's out of our control but we have to manage it. Especially our president and team manager Debbie [Masaufakalo], it's a lot of work for her to manage the flights, to look at the tournament calendar, where are we going to, what are we doing, where are we fighting for the points, where are we preparing for this important tournament. We have to get used to this situation."
Another added motivation is the Vanuatu team's growing entourage of young supporters, with Linline Matauatu and Loti Joe both competing less than 12 months after giving birth to young boys.
Matauatu's second child Fredly was born in August and is currently on tour with the team, while Joe's first child was born 12 months ago.
Matauatu and Pata were labelled the "Super-Mums" at the 2018 Commonwealth Games when they won a bronze medal eight months after Pata gave birth to son Tommy, who was watching on from the stands.
Bargmann said it could be a very full house when the team was on the road.
"It's a new situation," he said. "Three weeks ago in Sydney my wife and my little kid was there and my little boy was there as well so in the end we had three babies around.
"It's an interesting new situation and it's an interesting new sort of a life but I think maybe this can give us an extra push."
Meanwhile, New Zealand prevailed in the men's Continental Cup final, with both pairings beating their Australian opponents in three sets.
Tuvalu finished third in the men's competition after beating Fiji while Solomon Islands prevailed against their Fijian counterparts in the women's bronze final.