London 2012 - Construction begins on Horse Guards Parade

Thu, 21 Jul 10:28:00 2011

There was no need for dump trucks of sand when the Olympic beach volleyball competitions were famously staged in Sydney.

London 2012 - Work begins for volleyball

Bondi beach proved the perfect fuss free venue but you are 32 miles from the nearest golden sands to Stratford's Olympic Park - meaning organisers are having to bus the stuff in, much like Vancouver did with snow at last year's Winter Olympics.

Beach volleyball has proved one of the most popular sports at the Olympics since its introduction in Atlanta in 1996.

And London 2012 tickets were quick to sell out, despite the lack of high-profile home competitors and a mammoth 18,000 seater temporary arena, bigger than Wimbledon's centre court.

London's Horse Guards Parade in St James's Park will provide an iconic backdrop and now preparations are under way for next month's test event, the Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International.

Over 100 trucks have delivered 2274 tons of sand to fill the one competition court, two warm up courts and two training courts.

"Beach Volleyball is no doubt one of the most anticipated and exciting events in the test event and Olympic calendar," said Locog sports director Debbie Jevans. 

"Horse Guards Parade is an iconic central London venue while the sport itself is dynamic and great to watch. 

"That, coupled with 24 of the best teams in the world here to compete in just over two weeks time, is a winning combination that were all excited to see. 

"The sand coming in is a tangible sign that we are getting ready to host not only the test event but also the worlds greatest event next year.

A number of world class teams, including the current number one ranked Jennifer Kessy and April Ross from USA, Sydney Olympic gold medal winner and one half of the Australian team Natalie Cook, and Beijing bronze medal duo Zhang Xi and Xue Chen from China have confirmed their participation in the test event.

In addition two British teams - Lucy Boulton and Denise Johns and Shauna Mullin and Zara Dampney - have been invited in what will be a crucial competition for their own Olympic ambitions.

One men's and one women's pair have been given the opportunity to utilise a host nation quota place by the British Olympic Association.

A second men's and women's pair will also be granted potential spots but only if they are inside the top 23 of the world rankings when the Olympic qualifying curtain comes down in June 2012.

London 2012 and the sport's governing body, FIVB, have also selected ten teams from six Commonwealth countries in a bid to assist the sport's attempt at inclusion on the 2018 Commonwealth Games programme. 

More than the Games / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account