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'No where else we'd rather be'

Posted: 03-Jan-2012 by Maccabi National


It’s hard to imagine Team Australia at the Pan America Games without Arthur Bobrow and Danny Skrabal.

The dynamic beach volleyball duo infected the side with their personality, attracted boisterous crowds to their court, injected good old Aussie spirit into Team Australia - and played their part on the sidelines in every other sport.

“We inject life, passion and energy, that’s our forte,” explained Arthur, who finished fourth in this year's beach volleyball field. Still, that didn't stop them picking up a pair of rogue gold medals, pictured right ... until the Israeli team got back hold of them!

“We’re here to have fun, it’s been a great tournament, but it’s important to bring that spirit to the team.

“We enjoy being the most energetic, the most colourful and the most exciting team in the competition.”

Of their performance in Sao Paulo (the closest beach in this dense city is 2 hours away from where we stayed, so the tournament was played on a court near Hebraica), Danny added that they were “very pleased” with how they played.

“It was a real buzz to play against Israel in particular, who provided two national teams to the tournament, including the 2009 Maccabiah gold medallists.

“The quality of the tournament was fantastic; Israel came one-two, and the Brazilian team was strong as well, and the facility was also very impressive as well.”

The guys have been playing volleyball together since 1996, when Arthur came to Australia from South Africa. In fact, Arthur moved to Melbourne because of Maccabi’s indoor volleyball club.

A quirk of fate saw them begin their beach career in 1997, when the indoor volleyball team had to withdraw from the Maccabiah Games due to lack of numbers and Danny and Arthur took the plunge and hit the sand.

It’s been a great relationship since. In fact, Arthur adds: “His girlfriend Rachel thinks we are a better couple than her and Danny!”

The duo brought home gold from the Pan America Games in 2003 in Chile and have since become fixtures on Maccabi Australia teams, with fifth-placed finishes in 2005, 2007, 2009 and fourth this time around.

As anyone who has watched them play will tell you, their sport is all entertainment, colour and excitement. Opponents high-five each other between points, and when it’s all run and won, they can be seen enjoying a drink together afterwards.

“Volleyball is a community, we’ve got to know everyone from around the world,” Danny reflected.

“We met up with a guy from Guatemala today, who we met eight years ago in Chile and we remembered eachothers name! We’re close to the Americans, Mexicans, Israelis, Canadians, Brazilians ...

“Both Arthur and I love Maccabi; there’s no where else we’d rather be than Sao Paulo right here, right now or than in Israel next year.

“Playing in Tel Aviv, on Gordon Beach, is as good as it gets - world class facility, in the centre of Tel Aviv, amazing.”

And the good news for Aussie teams in the future is that Danny and Arthur plan to hang around. And when they can no longer play, they still see a bright future for the sport at Maccabi level.

“I will keep going to Maccabis, playing, for as long as my body is feeling good. But after that I would like to continue in some kind of management role to keep beach volleyball going as well," Danny said. 

“We have some young talent coming through Australia; young juniors, adults, playing at representative level and they’re people we look forward to nurturing through Maccabi going forward.”

And for those who haven’t seen them play, or indeed seen beach volleyball at all, how’s this for a sales pitch for "the best sport in the world".

“I’m passionate about beach volleyball – it’s the best sport in the world,” Danny enthused.

“It’s on the beach, in the sun, 2 v 2, best workout, good music, good people, party atmosphere.”

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