News: Destination Brighton for Olympic Volleyballers

By Rich Hook

The NIVEA SUN Yellowave Beach Sports Centre will host the worlds best volleyballers in 2012

Several Olympic volleyball teams, including America, Canada and Switzerland, are battling for the right to use the NIVEA SUN Yellowave venue as a training base for London 2012.

The beach sports centre in Madeira Drive is a recommended facility for beach volleyball teams competing in the Games.

Lord Seb Coe, chairman of organising committee LOCOG, said: “Years and years of effort are spent building towards the few minutes that are the pinnacle of every competitor’s career.

“That’s why I’m delighted to be able to offer such a comprehensive range of Pre-Games Training Camps for every sport.”

Yellowave is the only Olympic-standard, permanent beach sports venue in the UK and has previously hosted the FIVB U-21 World Championships in 2008 and the England Beach Volleyball Tour Finals in 2007 and 2008.

Francis Smith, who runs Brighton Social Volleyballers, said: “The facilities for playing beach volleyball at Yellowave are second-to-none.

“The sand is designed to be super-soft and come out of your eyes easily – something that players like myself, who spend a lot of time in the sand, really appreciate.

“The courts are actually better than natural beaches, so it’s an obvious choice for Olympic teams to want to be based there.”

Volleyballers at Yellowave (Photo: Aram Papikyan)

Beach volleyball has become one of the most popular sports at recent Games, with 480,000 spectators expected to pack the custom-built venue in Horse Guards Parade, London come 2012.

Fourty-eight players will be on the sand, with the likes of American pair Brooke Hanson and Lauren Fendrick, plus Canadian’s Rich Van Huizen and Christian Redmann, looking to make Brighton their home before the tournament.

Yellowave director Katie Mintram hopes that having these kinds of players at the venue will further encourage the sport’s expansion.

She said: “It’s a fantastic boost for us, the city and beach volleyball. Since we opened, people have taken to the sport in large numbers and now they have a chance to play alongside the world’s best.”

Labour’s Shadow Secretary for Culture, Media & Sport, Ivan Lewis, is in agreement: “One of the key Olympic goals is community legacy, so we are fully behind local businesses like Yellowave, who are promoting sport and promoting Brighton & Hove.”

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