Australian Beach Volleyball Princess
Taliqua Clancy is currently regarded as Australia’s most talented women’s beach volleyballer. Despite her young age, Clancy already has been touted as the most talented Beach Volleyball player Australia has ever produced. The 22-year-old is a member of the Australian Beach Volleyroos and has her sights firmly set on the 2016 Olympics in Rio and is first Aboriginal to compete at this level. Clancy has enjoyed quite a journey already, travelling to Russia, Germany, Switzerland, United States Brazil and China as a part of her World Tour. During 2013, she was anointed by Sydney 2000 Gold Medallist Kerri Pottharst as the most talented player Australian Beach Volleyball has ever produced. The Adelaide based Clancy was born in the Queensland town of Kingaroy (approximately 210kms north west of Brisbane). “I was born and grew up in Kingaroy, Queensland, the peanut capital of Australia,” she smiled. Raised by her single mother Shannon, Clancy is also grateful for her grandparents and the part they played in her growing up. “My grandparents, Robert and Jocelyn Clancy also had a huge influence on my upbringing,” the statuesque Clancy continued. A keen sportswoman, Clancy played a lot of sports growing up including athletics, touch football and swimming however her other main love was netball. “Netball was my main sporting love, but I gave that up to pursue my volleyball career. “When I was 15, my Mum (Shannon) and I moved to Brisbane where I attended Holland Park High School.” This was the moment when Beach Volleyball and Taliqua Clancy first met. “I was introduced to Beach Volleyball when I lived in Brisbane and participated in the Queensland Academy of Sport,” she explains. “Then I was selected in the National Talent Identification Development Squad and my love for beach volleyball continued to grow from there.” The Australian Institute of Sport Beach Volleyball program is based in Adelaide and when Clancy turned 17 she received a beach volleyball scholarship and moved to Adelaide. When Clancy arrived at the AIS Beach Volleyball headquarters she met head coach Steve Tutton, and she believes he is the secret behind her success. “He has and continues to play a huge role in my development both on and off the court,” the 184cm Clancy said. “I owe so much to Steve, for everything that I have achieved so far and the direction that I am heading in.”
With her training intensifying, beach volleyball is a major part of Clancy’s life, due to this she had to sacrifice the things she loved most. “The biggest is being away from my family and the large amount of time that we spend travelling on the road,” Clancy explained. “We train up to twenty hours a week. “This includes up to seven sand sessions, three gym sessions and speed, agility and conditioning training. “Our training schedule is generally based around the length of tournaments, which are four to five days so we usually have weekends off, unless we are competing. “The team also has meetings most days to discuss training, progress and planning. For Clancy it hasn’t been until the last couple of years of competing on the World Tour that she’s made some serious waves on the sand. “The last couple of years have been filled with highlights for me,” the 22-year-old continues. “A few that stand out are two bronze medals at the Junior and Youth World Championships. “I enjoyed being a part of the Olympic Qualification ‘Continental Cup’, to help a second Australian team to the London Olympics. “My biggest highlight so far has been starting on the World Tour.” Together with the experienced Louise Bawden their 2016 Olympics qualifying campaign is under way. Clancy and Bawden are Australia’s highest ranked couple, currently 12th in the world the star player feels her greatest journey has just begun. “Lou and I are aiming to qualify through being ranked in the top fifteen in the world.” Clancy explains. “We are on track to achieve this, but have set ourselves a goal to be ranked in the top five when qualification ends in mid-June 2016.” Unfortunately for local fans Clancy and Bawden missed the SA Open just over a month ago. They did however dominate their last event, winning the Queensland Open two weeks ago, this too gave Clancy an opportunity to catch up with family and friends in the Sunshine State. “I was able to catch up with my family and friends which was great,” she said. Clancy is currently back in Adelaide as she prepares for her next scheduled event, a National Tour Event in Scarborough WA on March 29.
The beach volleyball star says she enjoys her time living in Adelaide and frequents the café’s the city of churches provides, being a bit of foodie and she love visiting new cafes and music around Adelaide. . Clancy aspires to be a role model for Aboriginal kids and hopes to see more Aboriginal kids reach elite sports. “I hope that I can encourage indigenous kids to work hard and to pursue their goals to become elite athletes,” she said. “My advice to young athletes is that if you really love your sport and want to pursue your goals then commit and apply yourself to understanding and perfecting the skills that you need to succeed. “Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people that provide you with love, support and honesty.” A fact people may not know about Clancy, is she admits to being a huge Pocahontas fan (The title character in the 1995 Walt Disney Movie). “Pocahontas was my favourite movie as a child and I still think she is the best (and prettiest) Disney princess,” she said. What Clancy doesn’t know, is that she is providing Australia with their very own princess and this time it’s on a Beach Volleyball court.