Beach volleyball: Kiwis Shaunna Polley, Alice Zeimann eye historic selection for Paris Olympics

The beaches of Mt Maunganui are a long way from Paris, but for a Kiwi volleyball duo, they are a launching pad to the Olympics.

Beach Ferns Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann have taken out the women's final of the NZ beach volleyball tour and hope their winning luck continues, as they try to achieve something no Kiwi women have ever done before.

Polley and Zeimann don't often get to play on home sand, but it's a welcome step in their Paris Olympics mission.

Shaunn Polley and Alice Zeimann celebrate victory at Mt Maunganui.
Shaunn Polley and Alice Zeimann celebrate victory at Mt Maunganui. Photo credit: Photosport

"To go the Olympics would be amazing," said Zeimann. "It's kind of hard to express your life's goal." 

The duo are only one title away from achieveing that goal. The side have earnt a spot in the qualifying tournament in June, now all they have to do is win it. 

"We've put in a lot of hard work over the last 3-4 years and I think we are deserving of it," said Polley. "We are just super excited to get out there and prove ourselves." 

New Zealand has only once had a team qualify for the Olympics - a men's pair at Atlanta 1996 - so Polley and Zeimann could become the first Kiwi women to represent Aotearoa at the Games. 

"Volleyball is heading in such an awesome direction at the moment," said Polley. "We have such great participation from females and I think, if we could get that Olympic spot, it would just seal the deal." 

New Zealand also has a men's spot at the qualifying tournament, so two pairings could book their tickets to Paris. 

Volleyball New Zealand established a beach programme just a few years ago, an important launching pad. 

"Creating that programme was pretty awesome and them believeing in that... you can already see the benefits we've had from it," said Beach Ferns coach Jason Lochhead. "It's time to go get those big results." 

The athletes are ready. 

"We're confident in what we are bring to table and we're feeling good about getting the spot," said Zeimann. 

Polley and Zeimann are ready to spike their way to the top.