New Plymouth teen wins beach volleyball gold
16 Mar 2018
A New Plymouth teenager is on her way to the Youth Olympics after winning at the Under-19 Oceania Beach Championships in Australia.
New Plymouth Girls High School student Maya Dickson and her Auckland-based teammate Tamara Otene beat the tournament favourites from Australia two sets to none at the Lyneham Beach Volleyball Complex in Canberra on March 3 to win gold.
Dickson and Otene won the first set over top seeds Aimee Coleman and Tiaan Smith 21-13 and the second set 21-12.
David Jeffrey and Keegan Joe have also booked their places at the World Championships after a silver medal finish.
Joe and Jeffrey, both of New Plymouth, lost to Australia's Ky Landers and Mark Nicholaidis in straight sets with scores of 21-13 and 21-14.
The top-two placing guaranteed Joe and Jeffrey a main draw place at the 2018 Under-19 World Championships, as well the possibility of another spot for New Zealand at the Youth Olympic Games, depending on an allocation decision from the Asian Volleyball Confederation.
Dickson and Otene had also beaten the Australian women in three sets, 21-18, 12-21 and 20-18 as they went through pool play unbeaten on Friday. The three-day competition was held to decide the top two national federations in both men's and women's categories to earn a main draw place at the Under-19 World Championships to be held in Nanjing in China from June 26 to July 1.
The girls also secured their place at the 2018 Youth Olympics, to be held in Buenos Aires in October, with the win.
The teens all played on the Beach Volleyball Pro Tour circuit over the summer, and Dickson also has a strong indoor pedigree, having already been selected for the NZ U19 Indoor Volleyball Squad for 2018.