Ed Jackson / AAP News
Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy head to their second Commonwealth Games with a hunger for more in Birmingham.
Del Solar and Clancy were confirmed on Friday as Australia’s female pairing for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where the duo aim to go one step better than they did at the inaugural Games beach volleyball event at Gold Coast 2018.
Having paired up just before the Gold Coast Games, del Solar and Clancy made an immediate impression on the sands of Coolangatta.
Then, in Tokyo last year, they landed Australia’s first Olympic beach volleyball medal since Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst won gold at Sydney 2000.
Heading into their third major Games for Australia, Peruvian-born del Solar says her pairing with Clancy is still young in international beach volleyball terms.
“Beach volleyball teams before they have success they have normally been together for six, seven years,” Artacho del Solar said.
“It was cool for us to kind of click straight away and have success straightaway and it makes it really exciting to see what else we can do being such a young team and a young partnership.
“That’s one of our strengths as a team.
“We have a really strong connection and makes it really exciting to see what we can create.”
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McHugh partnered with the now-retired Damien Schumann to win gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and will look to defend his crown with new partner Burnett.
For del Solar and Clancy, the chance to join McHugh as a gold medallist is the obvious aim.
“Being selected again for our second time and having gone through Comm Games and the Olympics and had that little success from a fresh partnership, it’s very exciting because we obviously want to turn that silver into gold,” del Solar said.
“Having already been in a final, it’s such a big event, I guess it gives you feeling of ‘okay, I know what it feels like, I know what it’s like to be be here’.
“That gives you a good idea and you know what to expect.”