Interview with an Olympian | Q&A with Beach Volleyballer and QSMC client, Taliqua Clancy
The countdown has well and truly begun! The opening ceremony for the long-anticipated 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games is now only 8 days away. In the lead up to the games, and her second appearance representing Australia as an Olympian, we chatted to Beach Volleyballer and QSMC client, Taliqua Clancy.
Q. When did you first start playing volleyball?
I first started in high school playing indoor Volleyball for the first time; which is a pretty normal pathway in Australia. We’re often introduced to Volleyball first through indoors. Eventually, I relocated from Kingaroy to Brisbane when I was 15 to be a part of the QAS; and that’s when I first played Beach Volleyball. I haven’t really stopped since then. I moved to Henley Beach in Adelaide when I was 16 to be in the national team. And I lived there for about 12 years.
Q. When did you realise Volleyball was something you wanted to do professionally?
I think when I moved down to Brisbane to be a part of the QAS. Back in the day when I was younger and was in the national talent identification program, they really opened our eyes to the world pathways of where Volleyball and Beach Volleyball can take you. And that’s when I already knew from Sydney, from watching the Sydney Olympics, that I wanted to be an Olympian.
Q. How important is looking after your body to your performance?
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t (in the QSMC clinic being treated). Yeh, obviously it’s extremely important. It’s important in all areas.
Q. What part of physical preparation do you like the least?
Oh, it would have to be nutrition.
Q. Do you have a go-to cheat meal?
Yes, nachos! Even in Cancun in Mexico, they’re not the same as the westernised nachos we have here. They don’t even put guacamole or all the cheese content on there. Western nachos are just way better!
Q. What’s been the biggest influence on your career?
I think from a very young age I always knew I wanted to be an athlete. Having a good country lifestyle, growing up in Kingaroy, I was always active. My Mum and Grandparents always were taking me to sporting events – that’s where it kept flowing on for me.
Q. Did you play any other sports in school?
Netball, swimming, touch football – almost anything I could get into.
Q. Was watching the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games a big influence?
Yeh, definitely Sydney was pivotal. It opened my eyes that actually as a female you can be a full-time athlete. We’re all so used to watching men’s rugby, I mean that’s all I ever saw.
Q. As a child, do you remember watching Beach Volleyball?
No, I didn’t even know what Beach Volleyball was.
Q. Is there any advice you’d give to your younger self?
Probably starting good healthy routines early. Even just starting at school. Getting into good sleeping and eating routines early, I think that would have helped me later in life.
Q. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Mm, not really. I have a thing though. I have to have my visor, I can’t play without my visor. Even if it’s a night game I’ll still have my visor on! I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a ritual or luck thing, but it’s just a part of my routine.
Q. How did you stay motivated during Covid? Did your training change in any way?
Yeh, it was tough, it definitely wasn’t easy. I think it mostly came down to a lot of team effort and team chats just to keep things ticking over and staying in touch about where we were all at and how we were feeling. That was really important. And then trying to create new ways to have competitions to build a bit of excitement.
Q. How many years did you, previous to covid, were travelling overseas to compete?
Probably from the age of 20, so about 7 or 8 years of consistent international travel and competition. To just having my first winter in 8 years back in Adelaide.
Q. Do you have a favourite place to compete?
Oh, there’s a few. I’d have to choose Mexico, Hamburg in Germany is a really good event and Switzerland is just the most beautiful.
Q. Are you excited for the Olympics? And what are you looking forward to the most?
Yeh definitely! I’m just looking forward to getting back to competing.
Q. You’ve just come off a win in Cancun, are you feeling any pressure?
I wouldn’t say I’m feeling the pressure. I think it’s a little bit difficult. Our preparation isn’t up to the most I would ideally want it to. So, it can make it difficult not to have as much preparation. Although we’re feeling confident. And I’m always confident in what Mariafe and I can do. It was nice to get the win in Cancun, but it wasn’t a defining moment in our success going forward.
Q. Will you follow or watch any other sports, apart from volleyball?
Yeh, I hope so! I hope they have good viewing from our rooms, as we won’t be able to go watch hahaha. I’d love to watch basketball! We make so many friends and meet so many other athletes so it’s nice to be able to watch and support them too.
Q. And this is your second Olympics?
Yes, it’s my second Olympics. Both mine and Mariafe’s second Olympics actually. But we didn’t compete as a pair in our first games. Mariafe and I became partners back in October 2017. In terms of personality, I am definitely the bossier one. But we balance each other out really well. We definitely wouldn’t function with two Taliqua’s in the team!
Q. Are you competing in any tournaments between now and the Olympics?
Yeh! We’re playing a Swiss tour event which is taking place in Zurich and then moving on to compete in the world tour tournament in Gstaad, which is also in Switzerland. From there the plan is to head straight to Tokyo. We will be doing a small training camp with the Canadians in Gstaad, which is an added bonus and great practice because they’re the world champions at the moment too.
Taliqua and her partner Mariafe will kick off their Olympic campaign on Sunday 25th July at 1pm AEST against the Cuban team in the women’s preliminary round. We don’t know about you, but we will definitely be watching!