Hamburg, Germany, August 19, 2018 - The 2017-2018 international beach volleyball season will be a memorable one for Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy as the Australians ended their first full-season together on the international circuit by capturing the women’s bronze medal here on Sunday afternoon at the $800,000 Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone.
Seeded seventh in the event, Artacho and Clancy posted a 2-1 (21-15, 19-21, 15-8) bronze medal win in 51 minutes over fourth-seeded Maria Antonelli/Carolina Salgado of Brazil to advance to their sixth FIVB World Tour podium this season in 12 events where the pair will split the $50,000 third-place prize.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve done and achieved,” said the 28-year-old Clancy, who finished fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Louise Bawden. “We set out some goals of what we wanted to achieve this year and I think we’ve actually reached all of them. I think we’ve put ourselves in a good position to start the Olympic qualification. We definitely want to be the best even though we’re in our first season, we want to be consistent and take the momentum all the way to Tokyo.”
For the 2017-2018 FIVB campaign, Artacho and Clancy captured four World Tour gold medals by reaching the top of the podium at events in China (Qinzhou), Australia (Sydney), Switzerland (Lucerne) and Portugal (Espinho) for the most-ever titles in a season by an Australian men’s or women’s team.
As for season totals, Artacho and Clancy earned $133,500 for the third-best winnings effort by a women’s Australian team as the pair won 41 of 53 matches together (77.4 winning percentage). The pair also placed second at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.
“We’re a fresh team and I think we’ve done really good in our first season as a team,” said the 24-year old Artacho. “We’re really competitive and keep working hard and keep setting new goals. We can keep growing and take the team to another level.”
Finishing with a 4-2 record this week, the Aussies' only setbacks were to second-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic in pool play on Thursday and a 2-1 (13-21, 21-19, 17-15) semifinal loss Sunday morning in the semifinals.
The Czech Republic duo will be playing third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa for the World Tour Finals gold medal and the $150,000 first-place prize. Agatha and Duda posted a 2-0 (31-29, 21-18) semifinal win in 56 minutes over Antonelli and Carolina, who shared $35,000 for placing fourth in the season-ending event.