Beach volleyball star Jess picks up World Tour points

Worthing-born beach volleyball star Jess Grimson (right) and partner Vicky Palmer
Worthing-born beach volleyball star Jess Grimson (right) and partner Vicky Palmer

Worthing-born beach volleyball star Jess Grimson has been busy touring Asia with partner Vicky Palmer over the past few months.

The pair, who became the first female duo to represent England in the sport at a Commonwealth Games earlier in the year, bring their tour of the continent to an end in Singapore this week.

After exiting the Commonwealth Games in the quarter-finals back in April, the Bournemouth-based pair have played three tournaments in China. Impressive performances in each of those events have resulted in a nice return of World Tour points and prize money.

The tour of Asia has now reached its climax, after the pair battled it out at the Singapore Open.

Grimson, who was raised in Worthing, was excited to face some of the world's best.

She said: “We are up against a pair from Chinese Taipei in our first pool match. They are quite experienced and made it to the final in the Jinjiang tournament earlier this month, so it will definitely not be an easy match.

“We are ready for a battle and want to finish our four weeks in Asia on a high.”

The English pair finished ninth in Jinjiang, 19th in Nantong but just missed out on the main draw in Nanjing as their Chinese tour came to a close. Playing in the main draw of the Singapore Open means they were guaranteed points to add to their season's tally.

During downtime of the tour, the duo have enjoyed meeting a British community in Singapore.

The British high commissioner, Scott Wightman, invited the ladies to the Queen’s birthday event at the British High Commission, Singapore, on the eve of the tournament. They were also called upon to inspire students at the Tangling Trust School and talk about their rollercoaster route to a career as professional athletes.

Palmer, of Poole, said: “Beach volleyball is growing in the UK, but also in Asia.

“We want to encourage the next generation to be active and aim high. We love meeting aspiring athletes, and got the chance to do a session with some local young pairs - it was great to see their commitment and enthusiasm.

“Making it in sports is tough and our road to playing events like the World Tour hasn’t always been easy. It is not going to happen unless you challenge yourself and go for it, all in.”