Over 70 young people, together with assorted adults, converged on Cardiff’s Victoria Park on Monday, to play in the first Under 18 Home International series.
The competition had been organised by the Governing Bodies of all four home nations, in collaboration with Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club. The club has. The only purpose built volleyball facility in the UK! It ran fro Monday 6th until Wednesday 8th August.
The Tournament Director, Freda Bussey, said “It’s been a big success for beach volleyball and has enabled both young players and new and developing coaches to experience match play and coaching at an International event!”
The Under 18 Tournament Finals on Wednesday saw England 1 play Wales 1, but the experience of the English team saw them win in two straight sets; the girls final saw England 1 and 2 play against one another, with some exciting rallies from both teams drawing applause from the watching spectators. The match went to a third deciding set which was narrowly won by England 1!
Richard Callicott, President of Volleyball England, made the presentations to the winning teams but every player received a commemorative medal of the Tournament. Speaking to the players he said “ We hope you have enjoyed the Tournament. Hopefully, you have now learnt a little of how hard International sporting events are to compete in; the training and work you have to put in; the highs and lows of winning or losing. In 2022 we hope to see Beach Volleyball in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games – you could be there!”
He also thanked all those who had organised the event, coaches, referees, support staff and the many parents who had come to support it. He made especial mention for Carl Harwood and his team from Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club, who had hosted the event.
Beach volleyball is played two against two on a court marked out in the sand, often on a beach or, as in this case a purpose made facility. During the 2012 Olympics in London it was played on purpose built courts on Horse Guards Parade.
Cardiff Beach Volleyball Club, the only dedicated Beach Volleyball facility in the UK, was the “brainchild” of Carl Harwood. Carl had organised Beach Volleyball Tournaments for a number of years at Barry Island.
He visualised a purpose built facility for the game and with the support of Cardiff City Council, took out a lease on the clubhouse and pitches in 2015 and converted it into the current facility with the support of players and volunteers.