Huygens-Tholen is one of the pioneers of Beach Volleyball in Australia,
taking to the sand back in 1987 in one of the first state professional
competitions in Western Australia. As one of the shorter players
(170cm) on the world stage, Annette has become a role-model for
her athletic ability, determination and dedication to the sport
of beach volleyball.
Annette represented Australia for 15 years, making her first national
Indoor Volleyball team in 1987. By ’89 she was a regular in
the senior team and was included in the first full-time national
indoor program that commenced in 1992. In 1993, Annette was given
the captaincy but by the end of the year, Annette quit the Indoor
team to commit to the Beach game, better suited to her height and
abilities. Her first year on the World Tour in 1994 culminated in
a career high ranking of 8. In 1995 she was Asian Champion.
Annette featured in the Top 4 on the Australian Beach Volleyball
Tour from 1992 – 2003 and has 5 title wins to her credit.
She has also won the NZ Champion title 3 times and the Auckland
Open a further 2 times.
In the year 2000, Annette
realized her dream and competed at the Sydney Olympics, finishing
19th with partner Sarah Straton. During the competition, Annette
recorded the fastest serve at an Olympic Games (82kph) and this
was beaten by only one person a few days later - Gold Medallist
Kerri Pottharst. Annette returned to the World Tour in 2002 with
Nicole Sanderson and had a career-best year with a 5th in Montreal
and two 9th finishes. They also won the Tahiti Open that year.
Now retired from the sport Annette is focused on promoting Beach
Volleyball in Queensland with Sandstorm
. She also commentates on the sport and does public speaking in
her endeavour to inspire others. In 2003 Annette worked for the
Get Active Queensland Schools Program speaking to students on active
and healthy lifestyles.
Annette has a degree in Physiotherapy and worked full and part-time
in the industry for 15 years. Her knowledge and commitment to fitness
provides the expert advice in the stretching segment of DigiBeach.