GOLD COAST (Australia) - Nerves got the better of Singapore's beach volleyball pair Lau Ee Shan and Ong Wei Yu as they lost 9-21, 12-21 in their Pool C opener against Vanuatu on Saturday (April 7) at the Commonwealth Games.
Not only was the match played in front of a 500-strong crowd at the Coolangatta Beachfront on the Gold Coast, it was the first time the Singaporean pair were playing together in an international tournament.
That inexperienced showed in their 36-minute encounter as they committed several unforced errors against Miller Pata and Linline Matauatu.
Nevertheless, the 23-year-old Ong said it was an invaluable lesson and they would improve in their next match against the Kiwi duo of Kelsie Wills and Shaunna Polley on Sunday before finishing their preliminary round against Rwanda on Monday.
"The biggest crowd I've ever faced was the (National Schools) A Division final at Toa Payoh Sports Hall," Lau, 21, added, estimating that about 100 people watched her in action then. "So this was a big step up. My serve is usually my strength but today I struggled with it.
"I think after I made a few mistakes at the beginning it got to me and affected my serving."
National coach Dean Martin said his players lacked exposure at this level but that competing in a competition like this was vital.
The sport is making its debut at the quadrennial Games. Lau and Ong are Singapore's only beach volleyball representatives.
The top two teams from each of the three Pools plus the two best third-placed teams will advance to the quarter-finals which are on Tuesday.