Shepparton, Australia, March 2, 2017 - After a week of carting sand, locating hay bales and putting a stadium together, Shepparton in regional Australia is ready to host it’s first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event.
It’s significant not just because it’s the first time Shepparton has hosted an event of such magnitude; it’s also the first FIVB World Tour event to be held in Australia for many years, it’s the first top-level beach volleyball event not to be held on one of Australia’s abundant natural beaches, and it’s the first FIVB one-star event.Quick links - Beach volleyball:
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The first of the international teams began arriving on Wednesday, and by Thursday night most of the teams were in town. And the overwhelming consensus was the courts felt fantastic and the surroundings were perfect.
Competition this weekend will take place on the banks of beautiful Victoria Park Lake, in the heart of Shepparton. The Greater Shepparton City Council has gone all out to make it an event to remember, staging a fair with food stalls, live music, bouncy castles and a bundle of other activities.
“This looks and feels really good,” 2016 Olympian and leading Australian player, Nikki Laird, said.
“It’s so good to be able to bring beach volleyball to new places, and it’s wonderful to see how the local community has embraced us.
“And the weather is really warm. With the sand and the set-up, it feels like one of those great events we often play in Asia.”
More than 800 tonnes of sand has been transported from a quarry in Tocumwal, almost one hour away, and offloaded next to the lake.
In all 27 truckloads of sand were delivered, 200 hay bales and 20 metres of builders black plastic have been used to build a retaining wall and set the foundations for the two courts.
The World Tour event, which has attracted teams from Oceania, Asia, Europe and North America, will be held over Saturday and Sunday.