Australia ready to welcome back the beach volleyball world
Lausanne, Switzerland, February 24, 2017 – Australia is set to have the eyes of the beach volleyball world on it when it hosts the next two tournaments on the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
First up is the Shepparton one-star event in the state of Victoria that runs from March 4-5 and then comes the women-only Sydney two-star event from March 17-19.
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Three Australian Olympians are set to feature in Shepparton, which lies 180 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Nicole Laird played together at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, but are with new partners, while Becchara Palmer featured at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Another Australian Olympian, Louise Bawden, is down to play in Sydney with Nicole Laird, following their run together at the Fort Lauderdale Major earlier this month.
The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour's return to Australia will call up memories of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games which led the way for iconic venues by taking place on Bondi Beach in a 10,000-capacity stadium.
Australia’s Kerri Pottharst and Natalie Cook won gold in the women’s competition, while USA’s Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana topped the podium in the men’s.
The tournaments will also give Australian sports fans a taste of what is to come at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games when beach volleyball makes its Games debut.
The Sydney tournament will take place at Manley, another of Sydney’s famous beaches, while for Shepparton two temporary purpose-built courts and a warm-up court will be constructed and a 600-seat grandstand built at the Victoria Park Lake precinct.
Kerri Pottharst and Natalie Cook met Randy Stoklos and Sinjin Smith at the Volleyball House at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games last year. Stoklos and Smith won the first international FIVB-sanctioned beach volleyball tournament in Rio de Janeiro 30 years ago, in 1987.
“Over the next 12 months we will be taking our great sport to all corners of Australia,” Events Manager for Volleyball Australia, Baz Wedmaier said. “Beach volleyball events in Australia are famous for their party atmosphere and we can guarantee fans are going to love what they see.
“With the introduction of several major international events, it sets us up well in Australia as we prepare for the debut of beach volleyball at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.”
The five-star structure began with the 2017 FIVB World Tour and is one of the many steps taken by the FIVB to modernise and streamline its competitions in a golden period for beach volleyball on the heels of Rio 2016 and on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The 2017 FIVB World Ranking system will include FIVB Beach Volleyball Major Series, 5-star, 4-star, 3-star, 2-star and 1-star events along with additional pre-approved events at the inter-continental, continental and national levels.
For further information on beach volleyball events in Australia, visit www.volleyballaustralia.org.