New beach supports volleyball athletes’ Olympic ambitions

13 December 2007

Britain’s beach volleyball players are putting in the hard yards this winter on the new ‘beach’ at the University of Bath.

Work is now complete on the new outdoor beach volleyball facility at the Sports Training Village.

It will be a key part in the development of Britain’s beach volleyball players up to and beyond the London 2012 Olympic Games, after the British Volleyball Federation chose Bath as home for the GB beach volleyball team.

More than 20 British beach volleyball players are already members of the TeamBath sporting family, including the top British women’s pairing of Denise Johns and Lucy Boulton, who are competing for a place at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Richard Callicott, Chair of the British Volleyball Federation and President of the Volleyball England, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve got a world-class beach volleyball facility. We’re now looking at the next phase, which is to put a cover on it.

“I’m grateful for the support we’ve received from the University of Bath and am looking forward to working with the University in the future.”

Although the sport is usually associated with glorious summer days by the coast, the athletes are already well into their heavy early season training ahead of the 2008 season.

Training outside in the winter can be a valuable experience for players, who have to learn to master the unpredictable impact of coastal winds.

“People see the sport being played in the summer, but the athletes are training hard both inside and outside at this time of the year,” said Simone Lewis, director of volleyball at the University of Bath and a former England volleyball international.

“You can’t take anything for granted in the sport,” she added. “It’s very rare for games to be cancelled, and I’ve played in rain all day. The weather can have a big impact on the sport tactically, so training outside in the winter can be invaluable.”

The new outdoor facility beach at the University of Bath has enough space for two training courts and can be reconfigured to provide one international show court for tournaments.

Volleyball players at the University of Bath also train indoors at the Sports Training Village, where they also have access to the wide range of support services.

The outdoor facility features 19 tonnes of dredged coarse grain marine sand down to the international standard depth of 40cm. Dredged coarse grain marine sand is specifically used because of its drainage qualities.   Local people will, as usual with the Sports Training Village, be able to use the new courts.

As well as a being a multi-functional space suitable for a wide range of activities, the surface also provides a perfect ‘low impact’ training area.

The University of Bath has one of the leading university sports departments in the UK. Under its Team Bath brand, its success is based on the expertise and dedication of staff, and its excellent facilities, used by the community and Olympic medal winners alike.

Members of the media who require further information can contact the Team Bath Press Office at Matchtight Ltd on (01225) 383518 or see the Team Bath website.

Posted: Thursday 13th December 2007

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