Regional | Aotearoa

Ōhope hosts first NZ Beach Volleyball circuit of the year

Ōhope hosts the first of the seven New Zealand Beach Volleyball circuits of the season.  Most of the athletes here are vying for a spot in the New Zealand Olympic team heading to Rio.

Rising stars Paora Morunga and Thomas Hartles get down to business.  Morunga, of Ngāi Tūhoe descent, says they're hoping to make it to the Olympics in Brazil.

It's been seven years since Ōhope has hosted a New Zealand Beach Volleyball circuit.

These athletes will be pushed to the limits, especially with top-seeded pairing, Mike Watson and Sam O'Dea in the competition.

Organiser Tim Cleaver explains, "The selection who play in these tournaments will be made here and we will only be able to send four of our top athletes to Rio."

It's a new experience for local teenagers, Rene Kapa and Morgan Seymour.  "It has been pretty tough so far and there's some really good teams here," says Rene.

The tournament is not only important for New Zealand representatives vying for Rio qualifications.  The circuit has also opened its doors to international players.

This weekend, Tauranga will host the second event of the circuit.