Six junior WA players have recently represented the country at the 2019 Arafura Games in Darwin. Playing both indoor and beach volleyball across seven days, the WA players return home with bronze and silver medals.
WA’s Jackson Barnett, Korben Phillips, Tom Dempsey, Joshua Howat, Caleb Lampard and Ky Landers were selected in the 24-strong junior men’s development group.
The integrated indoor and beach volleyball tour saw the athletes divided in to two teams, the Australian Green and Australian Gold. Barnett and Phillips represented the country as part of the Australian Green team, while Dempsey, Howat, Lampard and Landers competed in the Australian Gold team.
Both teams collected wins in the group stage of the indoor volleyball competition and went head to head in the quarterfinals. The Australian Gold proved to be too strong and progressed to the semi-finals with a 3-1 win. A strong Chinese Taipei team relegated the Australian Gold to a bronze medal match following a 3-0 lose, where the boys fought hard against UTP Malaysia to collect the bronze in five seats.
Following a day off the six WA boys hit the sand for the Arafura Game’s beach volleyball competition. Recently anointed Australian U23 and U21 Champions Landers and Lampard breezed through the group stage, while Dempsey and Phillips enjoyed similar success with both teams progressing to the semi-finals. Barnett and Howat took out a win in the group stage against fellow Australians, however were unable to progress further.
In the all WA semi-final, Dempsey and Phillips were unable to beat the dominant Landers and Lampard duo with the Australian Champions taking it out 2-0. Landers and Lampard progressed to the final without dropping a set, however they faced tough competition from the Samoan team. Battling it out over two sets Landers and Lampard were unable to get over the line and left Darwin with the silver medal.
Landers will now switch his focus to the upcoming World U21 Beach Volleyball Championships where he will represent the country in Thailand from the 18 to 23 June. Landers will then continue onto the Volleyball Australia Integrated European tour where he will be join Lampard, Lewis Peach, Sarah Burton and Tessa Browne.