Teams for the upcoming beach volleyball World Tour round have been finalised, with several international superstars set to grace the purpose-built beaches of Shepparton.
Australian Olympians Nicole Laird, Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Becchara Palmer headline a star-studded field for the March 3 to 5 International Volleyball Federation event.
Pairings from eight different countries will compete in the main draw of the men’s and women’s 16-team tournament as they work towards next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Laird and del Solar will play alongside new partners in the Goulburn Valley, despite teaming at last year’s Rio Games.
Australian squad member Phoebe Bell will partner Laird, while Britt Kendall will play with del Solar as part of a strong Australian contingent, with six teams in both draws.
Queensland’s Jessyka Ngauamo will have the honour of partnering 2012 London Olympian Palmer.
Australia’s men’s team will be led by Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann, who come together for the first time after injuries to their regular partners.
Cole Durant and Zachary Schubert will also compete at the event after enjoying success on the Australian beach tour this summer.
Unsurprisingly, Japan will send three teams to Shepparton in the hopes of building qualifying points on the road to its home Olympics in three years time.
Representatives from New Zealand, the United States, Germany and Canada will be among the other nations descending on Greater Shepparton, but last year’s Olympic hosts Brazil will not venture to the shores of Victoria Park Lake for the one star World Tour event.