Aussie duo set for Olympics after beach volleyball win

Beach volleyball duo Izac Carracher and Mark Nicolaidis are poised to shoot for gold in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower at the Olympics after inspiring Australia to a triumph in the Asian Continental Cup finals in China.

The duo won both their matches in the final on Sunday to help Australia defeat the hosts China 2-1 in the final in Ningbo, a result that ensures there will be two teams in green-and-gold selected for the men's beach volleyball competition in Paris.

Australia had already named one duo, debutants Thomas Hodges and Zachery Schubert, but the success ensures another pair can also compete at what promises to be one of the star attractions of the Games near the foot of the city's most celebrated landmark.

Tokyo silver medallists Taquila Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar have also already been selected in the women's event, but now selectors will meet to decide which second men's pairing should join the party.

It will doubtless now be almost impossible for them to look beyond 23-year-old Queenslander Nicolaidis and NSW's Carracher, 24, whose combination under the utmost pressure in the final ensured Australia will have two men's teams at a summer Games for the first time since Athens 2004.

After defeating Qatar and Indonesia 2-0 in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, the Australian top seeds had to dig deep in the final.

Nicolaidis and Carracher won the first tie 2-1 (21-17, 20-22, 16-14) against the veteran Chinese duo of Wu Jiaxin and Ha Likejiang, before the hosts drew level with Wang Yanwei and Li Jie beating the other Aussie duo of Paul Burnett and Jack Pearse 2-0 (22-20, 22-20).

It all came down to a winner-takes-all decider with Nicolaidis and Carracher again impressing to come from behind for a repeat triumph over Wu and Ha, prevailing 2-1 (17-21, 23-21, 15-10).

"It was a little bit stressful out there to be completely honest, at a few points in the game it might have looked like we were down and out," Nicolaidis admitted.

"The biggest thing we did was we just stuck together as a team, we showed some heart, we fought hard and let the scoreboard take care of itself."

Carracher added: "We've had to prepare for the stress, and the motivation of playing for a spot for Australia and to make a big statement for Australian beach volleyball ... there's a weight in that but there's also a motivation for us to really represent Australia with pride."