Sisters Sights on Rio's Sand
Queensland sisters Justine and Jordan Mowen are currently training hard in hope of a position in the Australian Beach Volleyball team for the Rio Olympics.
The pair elect on travelling to South Australia just to train at the South Australia Sports Institute at Kidman Park.
With their significant training schedule not all done in their home state of Queensland.
Currently only two Olympic sports run their Australian National Program in Adelaide, Beach Volleyball and Cycling provide our best athletes with the greatest possible opportunity to succeed with state of the art facilities.
"The quality of training and coaching we receive while in Adelaide help develop our skills and game strategy," Jordan Mowen explains.
"There aren't any senior beach volleyball athletes playing or training at the level we are in Brisbane so for us to get tough competition, we pay our own way to Adelaide for training camps during the year.
"As the majority of the beach volleyball athletes that are currently representing Australia are living and training in Adelaide (National Performance Program), it makes for a high quality training environment for us. “
Currently Justine 29, and Jordan 27, are two athletes in a pool of eight that are vying for a second spot in the Australian team.
With Taliqua Clancy and Lou Bawden already qualifying for Rio Olympics one other position may also become available.
A bronze medal at the Asian Beach Volleyball tournament in Vietnam less than a month ago was not enough to award the Queensland sisters a position in the Australian Continental Cup team this month but now they’ll wait and see if Australia win the continental cup this week, which would mean they'd qualify a second team for Rio.
Should a second team be entered the Mowen sisters will be on standby if injury occurs.
"Unfortunately Justine and myself didn't make the selections for the Continental Cup squad which was disappointing," Jordan said
"However, we are still training and staying fit in case of injury in the lead up to the Olympics."
The two continental cup teams are Nikki Laird and Mariafe Artacho and the second pair is Becchara Palmer and Phoebe Bell.
Surprisingly the talented Mowen duo are not the only ones in their family to have played a high level of sport.
Their Dad, Sean played State Level Rugby League and Union football and Mum, Rachel was a talented Netball and Softball player.
"Every member of our family is quite athletic and we have our parents to thank for that, both genetics, but also support wise," Jordan said.
"They both encouraged us to become involved in sport from a very early age."
Brother Ben Mowen is already a national representative player, captaining the Australian Wallabies in 2013. He also donned a jumper with the ACT Brumbies in the Super Rugby League competition and now plays professional Rugby in France.
Older sister Justine believes she is inspired by her brother's efforts and admires what he has achieved in reaching the highest level.
"He is the sports person I most admire," Justine continues.
"I've enjoyed watching his success in rugby union over the years.
"I know the challenges he has had to face and overcome and I admire the way he conducts himself as an athlete and a leader on the field.
"He has plenty words of wisdom for our team... Whether we want to hear it or not."
The active sisters were always involved in sports from their young career's with dancing, little athletics, netball, basketball swimming and hockey their focus before they took a love for Volleyball.
Jordan started playing Indoor Volleyball aged 14 and Justine was identified through the QLD Academy of Sport talent identification program aged 15.
Justine was fortunate enough to represent Australia at the youth, junior and senior Indoor Volleyball level before making a full time switch to Beach Volleyball when she was 24 with Jordan making the switch when she was 21.
At first Justine and Jordan worked hard on their communication side of the game when coming together as a team but Jordan believes there are benefits of having a sibling travelling around the globe with you.
"We had to learn to treat each other like athletes and not sisters while on court," Jordan said.
"It's definitely comforting having a family member traveling with you, and very rewarding especially when we succeed."
The Queenslanders are currently training up to ten hours a week outside of their current jobs.
Jordan is an Exercise Physiologist and Justine is a Clinical Nurse.
With their sole focus still on the Rio Olympics, the Queensland pair have also admitted it would be nice to represent Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast.
"Currently the goal is to qualify a second Australian team for the Rio Olympics so that remains our sole focus," Jordan said.
"However learning that Beach Volleyball has been included in the 2018 Commonwealth Games is super exciting though."
Images- Andrew Frackowski
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