06.07.2019 - Hamburg
They had been there before and they knew exactly where they were going.
One year after winning a bronze medal in Hamburg at the World Tour Finals, Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho repeated their finish at the World Championships at the very same Red Bull Beach Arena the Rothenbaum Stadium.
The Australians downed Swiss Tanja Hüberli and Nina Betschart 21-18, 22-20 in the bronze medal match and bounced back from their semi-final loss to Americans April Ross and Alix Klineman the night before.
“This is such a huge event leading to the Olympics next year and it was so important for us,” Mariafe said. “It’s been an intense week, we’ve gone through so much adversity and I’m proud of us for staying together as a team. Playing in the stadium gives you goosebumps, the energy of the crowd is unbelievable and it’s so much fun.”
The Australians handed their country its first-ever World Championships medal since 2003, when Natalie Cook, the Sydney 2000 Olympic champion and arguably the nation’s greatest ever player, and Nicole Sanderson took bronze in Rio de Janeiro.
“It’s really special,” Taliqua reflected. “It’s just incredible that we are bronze medalists just like them now. I’m so proud of where we are at and of our legacy, but hopefully we can grab some more medals to it. There’s a good women’s history in Australia and it’s such an honor to be a part of it.”
The result was also a reward for the great work the Aussies have been showing at the international level in the last couple of years. After competing at the Rio 2016 Olympics with different partners, Taliqua and Mariafe joined forces and since then they have won ten medals, including five golds, in just 19 international tournaments.
“It’s a massive step towards Olympic qualification, so I’m extremely proud of that,” the blocker added. “But we have more goals and we want to achieve them as a team. It’s an incredible moment and we just want to enjoy it now.”
Tanja and Nina also ended the tournament with a smile on their faces despite not being able to step on the podium after an incredible run, in which they eliminated two Brazilian teams on their way to the semi-finals.
“To realize that we’re leaving this tournament empty-handed is tough,” Tanja reacted. “But the experience he was had in the last few days was amazing and we’ll keep those memories in our minds and our hearts forever.”