RecycleKiwi Ambassadors Sam and Ben O’Dea have ended their international beach volleyball tour on a high, winning gold in Switzerland.
The beach brothers won 2-1 against Switzerland in the final of the Coop Beachtour, which was held in Olten on August 1.
It was the final event for the Commonwealth Games bronze medallists after five months on the road training and competing overseas, largely under strict bubble conditions.
“It was good to finish on a win for sure,” says Sam.
“We had some mixed results in events leading into it, so to finish on a positive note was good. We were pretty happy and I think, more importantly, we were playing some good volleyball too.”
The last two events, in Olten, were not on their original calendar, with the O’Dea brothers receiving wild cards to play them.
“It was a lucky surprise for us.”
Sam and Ben left New Zealand in April, in a quest to qualify for the Olympics, playing competitions in Mexico and the Czech Republic before training in Germany prior to the Olympic qualifiers in Thailand in June. After missing out on qualifying, they returned to Europe to play in FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events in Switzerland.
As RecycleKiwi Ambassadors, they have also been checking out different recycling systems during their travels — the latest being large underground recycling stations and pay-as-you-go rubbish bins in Switzerland.
“It was a good trip, but it definitely had its ups and downs. It was tough losing that tournament in Thailand, and to not make the Olympics. We played some good ball — we beat two teams that are in Tokyo — but unfortunately didn’t qualify ourselves,” says Sam.
“But the team that won, the Australians, they really deserve to be there and it’s been fun watching the teams that have been competing.”
Sam will return to New Zealand this month, followed by Ben a couple of months later.
“I’ll take some time off when I get back to NZ. I think it’s a good time to have a break.”