Aussie volleyballers, Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar haven’t been together for long but the pair have already proven they are a force to be reckoned with, returning home from their first tour having won everything on offer, with a clean slate. The dynamic duo returned to Australia boasting three Gold Medals from three Tournaments where they went undefeated and didn’t lose a single set in 32 played.
While the pair were training for just 5 weeks before they left, they connected immediately and believe their connection is the secret to their success. It’s not uncommon for volleyballers to switch partners but according to Mariafe, some partnerships come more naturally than others.
“For T and I it’s very natural. You don’t have to really force it. We recently joined together but the trust and belief in each other was there from the start. We connected straight away and I think that’s what really helped our success.”
Taliqua and Mariafe have a strong friendship both on and off the court and when you’re travelling the globe with someone, away from partners and family this becomes pretty important.
“We are close, you can’t travel the world and not be close. Especially for Australians, we have to spend a lot of time on the road so it’s important that we are respectful and that we are okay to embrace other people’s differences,” Taliqua says. “I think the best way to describe it is, a relationship without the benefits,” she adds with a laugh.
While their partnership is still early days, Taliqua and Mariafe met years ago in the junior stage of their careers and have been around each other for a number of years. Both athletes are now based in Adelaide with the National Team and, after their roaring success this is unlikely to be the last time the two are paired together.
“We enjoy playing together but it’s not ultimately our choice. The coaches and the federation have a big say in it," Mariafe explains. "But again, our results speak for themselves in a way. If we have that success in tournaments, I guess why would they break us up, you know?”
To get a bit of insight into the dynamic between the power pair, we asked a few “who is more likely to?” questions.
Which one of you takes more selfies?
Mariafe: Probably Taliqua…she loves snapchat. So, I would say her. But I do enjoy taking an after-game win selfie.
Taliqua: “I don’t know actually…I’m going to say me. I take more snapchats.”
Who has got the weirdest phobia?
“We both hate bugs and cockroaches. We are both chickens when it comes to that. We both yell and giggle like girls and don’t want to go near it.”
Who is mostly likely to cry in a movie?
Mariafe: “Oh god, that would be me I reckon. I am emotional for sure…Even Nemo, Peter Pan. Seriously. Even animations. When I know what’s going to happen at the end I still cry. Or love stories.”
Who’s more likely to hit snooze?
“We’re both early morning people. We hear our alarm and we get up straight away. We’re chirpy as, which is so good.”
Who has the bigger potty mouth?
“We both swear a lot in a joking way. Yeah, I don’t know. I think it’s a tie.”
Who’s more likely to skip a workout?
“The thing is we can’t afford to skip a workout. It’s part of our daily life. We have to do our training on the sand as much as in the gym. It’s just as important. We’re both pretty disciplined. We know we have to do it. It’s our job.”