Coolangatta to host first Commonwealth Games beach volleyball tournaments at Gold Coast 2018

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Coolangatta will host beach volleyball when the sport makes its Commonwealth Games debut at Gold Coast in 2018, organisers have confirmed.

The addition to the programme was announced in March, taking the number of sports being contested at the Games from 17 to 18 for the first time.

Beach volleyball is expected to be a stand-out sport at this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro due to the famous Copacabana venue, and the sport could be similarly iconic in Gold Coast.

The Australian city boasts some of the world's best beaches, with the southern Coolangatta suburb now given the honour of advertising the natural beauty to the watching world.

A temporary stadium will be built which organisers hope will provide "spectacular television images" to 1.5 billion viewers.

Commonwealth Games Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, who announced the news, said: "The Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches will be a huge draw-card during the Games, but the beach volleyball at Coolangatta will take things to a whole new level for Gold Coasters and the thousands of visitors who will experience this iconic sport in such a beautiful part of the world.

"After a city-wide scout, Coolangatta was chosen, in part for its capacity to accommodate the infrastructure needed to meet international Federation guidelines.

"The final preparations and precise location and associated logistics of a temporary stadium can now proceed in full consultation with the sport’s governing body, the Southern Gold Coast community and key Games Delivery Partners."

Beach volleyball was added to the Games programme after an agreement was struck between the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), the Queensland Government, the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) and Gold Coast 2018.

Two 12 team tournaments will be contested, one each for men and women, with two players per team.

A qualification system will be developed in collaboration with the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and will be finalised by July.

England's Zara Dampney, who played for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympic Games, said in March the decision would inspire more youngsters to take up the sport amid a chorus of approval.

Gold Coast 2018's chief executive Mark Peters said great consideration had been given to the location.

"There is a significant space requirement for this event and much more than meets the eye when it comes to technical delivery - right down to the consistency and grade of sand on the court," he said.

“Coolangatta is a great location for beach volleyball and with the magnificent beach and city skyline it is just another opportunity for the destination to be showcased all over the world."

CGF vice president Bruce Robertson added: "With the Gold Coast skyline as its backdrop, we’re certain the beach volleyball at Gold Coast 2018 will be a spectacular showcase for the destination on the world sporting stage."

The Games in just under two years' time are due to take place between April 4 and 15.

The other sports will be athletics, aquatics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, rugby sevens, shooting, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling.

Seven Para-sports will also be contested.

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