Beach Volleyball will feature for the first time at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 which are set to be held on Australia’s Gold Coast.
In an area synonymous with exceptional beaches, the inclusion of Beach Volleyball has been welcomed heartily by Volleyball England chief executive Lisa Wainwright.
“This is fantastic news which has been many years in the making,” said Lisa. “Our honorary president, Richard Callicott OBE has been instrumental in persuading for the inclusion of Beach Volleyball into the Commonwealth Games for both men and women, and we’re delighted that it will be part of such an iconic event.
“Our beach pair are currently working hard to keep their Olympic dreams alive and to be in with a chance of representing their country at another iconic event, is a great motivator.”
This historic move will see an increase in the number of sports at the Games from 17 to 18 for the first time.
Kirk Pitman, who coaches the England men’s beach team of Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf, said: “This is amazing news for the sport of beach volleyball and potentially a fantastic opportunity for Chris and Jake.
“It has been in the pipeline for a while so to see it finally come into fruition is great.”
The agreement was struck between the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), the Queensland Government, the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) to pave the way for beach volleyball’s inclusion.
President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Louise Martin CBE, endorsed the decision to add an iconic sport like Beach Volleyball to the GC2018 programme.
“The CGF Executive Board is delighted to approve the inclusion of Beach Volleyball in the sports programme of the XXI Commonwealth Games, which will allow nations to compete in more sports, engage and inspire spectators, broadcasters and commercial partners, and create a spectacular sporting showcase for the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia on the world stage.
“We look forward to experiencing Beach Volleyball for the first time ever at a Commonwealth Games.”
Zara Dampney, who played for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games, said the news would inspire more youngsters to take up the sport.
“It is wonderful news for beach volleyball players and for our current international athletes it is so important have something to aim for.
“Having a major multisport event as a focus point will really help with motivation. That’s why we put the effort in day in, day out.”
Beach Volleyball is set to be the iconic sport at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and with the spectacular Gold Coast Beaches, it could be equally as iconic in 2018.
Richard Callicott OBE said: “My response is that I am hugely delighted that the CGF and Gold Coast have agreed to include us for 2018 knowing that we are already included for Durban 2022.
“Beach volleyball will bring a dynamism that was shown in london 2012 and a young exciting audience.”
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be staged from 4 – 15 April 2018.