Bangkok, Thailand, April 8, 2004 - Organisers of the Thai round of the Asian Beach Volleyball Tour in the south of the country have guaranteed the safety of athletes following a surge in violence in the region.
Fifty-five teams from 16 countries will contest the tournament, which this year has been split into two legs.
The three-day Loma Asian Beach Volleyball Invitation starts in Phatthalung on Friday while the three-day Samila Asian Beach Volleyball Tour event begins in Songkhla next Tuesday.
"The situation in the south is not as bad as the media has reported," said Shanrit Wongprasert, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Volleyball Association of Thailand. "This tournament will also partly help the image of the area."
Shanrit, who is also an executive member of the International Volleyball Federation, said the number of teams competing this year was an Asian Tour record.
"Apart from powerhouses China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, the players from Kazakhstan should also be watched closely,'' he said.