Vanuatu men’s beach volleyball team inspired by its champions

By Tumbe Sam, Ingrid Cosnier and James Cowling, Games News Service

PORT MORESBY, July 14 – Vanuatu’s men’s beach volleyball team at the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games has been inspired by its country’s national heroes, Elwin Miller (VAN) and Henriette Iatika (VAN).

Miller and Iatika became household names in Vanuatu after they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Stephen Ham (VAN) said all of his compatriots at the tournament are competing not only to win, but to emulate their champion women’s team.

“In Vanuatu, our girls are international. So we get all their support, the training and the skills,” said Ham.

“Every day when we train, they come to the field and help us to improve; the defense, the blocking and all the strategy.”

“We are very lucky to have them, and thanks to them we are here today.”

He said for he and partner Isaac Mael (VAN) the Games are a learning experience.

“This is the first time most of us have come to Pacific Games. It’s really amazing and we are really competing well.”

He and Mael beat the Northern Mariana Islands’ Clay McCullough-Stearns and Andrew Johnson 2-1 on Tuesday to improve to a two win, one loss record.

Ham and Mael’s next match is against Tuvalu at the PNG Power Dome on Wednesday at 11:00.

GNS ts/ic/jc/jf

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