London Gets Ready for Beach Volleyball with a Test Event

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London will host a women’s beach volleyball tournament at Horse Guards Parade as a test event for the London Olympics.

Featuring 24 teams, the event is set to take place from August 9th to 14th.

Although the Olympic capacity is set at 15,000, for the test event, a temporary arena will be set up to seat about 2,500.

The venue also hosts the annual Trooping the Color ceremony and is near the prime minister’s official residence at Downing Street.

Jizhong Wei, International federation president, said that the test event will be a great chance to showcase beach volleyball. She describes the venue as “in the heart of one of the greatest capitals in the world.”

For this event, the volleyball playing girls will be traveling from all over the world to have a taste of what it will be like to play beach volleyball in the same place for the 2012 Olympics.

Meanwhile, the plans for the stadium for the Olympics have been turned in to Westminster City Council. It was brainstormed by architects Populous and design and engineering consultancy Atkins, and is set to be erected within six weeks, right after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It will also reportedly be removed after the Games.

The temporary stadium will also be equipped with lighting for evening games, as well as sport-specific fixtures and video capabilities. It is reportedly set to have a lower bowl for a high-energy atmosphere along with a thee-sided upper bowl that lets camera views as well as spectators have the London skyline as their backdrop.

Mike McNicholas of Atkins describes this project as one of the most visible aspects of the firm’s projects with the London Olympics. “Horse Guards Parade is a fantastic backdrop for any event,” he said.

He also expressed pride at the technical skills brought to the table for the erecting of this temporary structure, a solution he believes deserves to be considered more seriously in later years.

Populous principal Jeff Keas boasted that their design will result in a sporting arena that will be least expected “in the heart of historic London.”

Apparently, the size and scale of the temporary stadium will be similar to Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

When the plans were submitted, Sally Chatterjee, chief executive officer of Visit London, expressed her open-armed acceptance. She believes that international visitors to London typically enjoyed how history and heritage especially combined with modern entertainment and culture.

“The proposed beach volleyball location… will showcase the capital in a new and exciting way,” she said.

For the 2012 Olympics, 96 athletes will be coming to London to fight for the gold medals for the men’s and women’s team. The tournament will be played among 24 teams, divided into six groups of four teams each for a preliminary round. This results in a total of 108 matches to be played for the 14 days of the tournament, split equally between men’s and women’s games.

The 1996 Atlanta Games was where beach volleyball made its debut as an Olympic game.

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