International beach volleyball tourney from today

A stadium with capacity of 5,000 set up on Beach Road

The International Beach Volleyball tournament is all set to begin at RK Beach on Thursday. Leisure Sports Management, the promoter of the event, said response to the tournament has been tremendous and that most of the tickets have been sold out.

This is for the first time that an international-level beach volleyball tournament is being held in the country, with Visakhapatnam being chosen to be the host. A floodlit stadium to accommodate close to 5,000 spectators has sprung up on the beach near Gokul Park. The matches are scheduled to begin at around 8 a.m. and will continue till 9 p.m., with a break of about two hours after noon.

In total, 56 teams — 28 men and 28 women teams — from several countries would be participating, said S.S. Dasgupta of Leisure Sports. The qualifying rounds will begin on Thursday, and 32 teams, comprising 16 men and 16 women, would be selected to play for the top spots.

After the qualifying rounds, the main matches would be played from March 1 to 3. Teams like Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Austria, USA and Japan are hot favourites. From India, 10 teams (five men and five women teams) would participate, and at least three each would be part of the main fixture, said Mr. Dasgupta. In beach volleyball, each team consists of two players, who play three-setter games on sand. MLA P.G.V.R. Naidu, who is also the president of A.P. and Vizag Volleyball Federation, said the tournament would enhance the image of the city and add to its tourism potential.

Boost to beach sports

“Visakhapatnam has been selected to host the tournament to build beach sports facilities under the Smart City project,” Mr. Naidu said. Promoted by Leisure Sports Management, the tournament is being held in collaboration with International Volleyball Federation, Volleyball Federation of India and A.P. and Vizag Volleyball Association.

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