Tokyo Olympics: Games delay blessing in disguise for Kiwi volleyball hopefuls

Some of New Zealand’s elite volleyballers begin the summer season in Mount Maunganui this weekend, with Olympic qualification firmly in their sights. 

For our top men's team of Sam and Ben O'Dea, COVID-19 and the postponement of the Tokyo Games has proved a stroke of luck in more ways than one. 

With Ben having suffered a freak injury, the postponement of the Olympics has worked in their favour.

“He was going camping with his girlfriend, and he completely destroyed his wrist,” brother Sam O’Dea tells Newshub.

Ben would have missed the Games completely and was even warned the injury could have been career-ending. 

But much to Sam's relief, they've been given time to prepare for 2021. 

“Hopefully we're able to have a good run up to the last Olympic qualification,” he says.

The women's pair of Julia Tilley and Shaunna Polley are also ready to dive into the season, starting with this weekend's elite training camp.  

“I'm in the best shape I've been in the last eight or nine years playing, so I'm really looking forward to an awesome summer,” Polley says.

This summer is arguably their most important to date, with Olympic qualification just around the corner.

Watch the full story above.