Beach volleyball pair primed for Tokyo Olympics bid

Happy just to be competing in Rio, Australian beach volleyballer Mariafe Artacho del Solar is approaching the Tokyo Olympics with a different partner and a different mindset.

Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy were confirmed as the first pair in Australia's beach volleyball team, with four other duos currently competing at the final qualification tournament in Thailand.

Artacho del Solar, who moved to Sydney from Peru when she was 11, and Nicole Laird didn't win a match in Rio, while Queenslander Clancy and Louise Bawden made the quarter-finals.

But the world No.5-ranked team have high hopes for this Olympic campaign, looking to be the first Australian pairing since Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst in 2000 to win gold.

"Rio was definitely a great experience and it gave me a good insight into what it took to be at the top and on the podium, so this Olympics is definitely business time," Artacho del Solar told AAP.

Although friends and rivals since their early teens, the women only partnered up at the end of 2017.

But it didn't take long for them to make an impact, winning a bronze medal at the 2019 World Championships despite Artacho del Solar managing a serious knee injury through much of the competition.

"We will be competing against the same teams so it's definitely a good confidence boost," the 27-year-old said.

"But everyone's going to be going for that medal so we're going to have to just focus on us and out side of the court and focus on the process."

As well as that world championship medal, team Australia go into Tokyo with victory at the most recent international event, last month in Mexico.

Starved of competition in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pair took out the third and final FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour 4-star tournament, after finishing fifth and ninth in the opening two events.

"It was really challenging coming back to competition at that level after a year and a half of not competing at all," said Artacho del Solar.

"But it was good for us to see what we've been working on in that time still works and we're able to compete against the top of the top teams because everyone was there."