Asian tour may visit S'pore shores next year

After hosting this week's South-east Asian (SEA) Beach Volleyball Championships at Sentosa's Palawan Beach, Singapore will be looking to hold another major competition for the sport next year.

Ang Wei Neng, president of the Volleyball Association of Singapore (VAS), said yesterday that the Republic is in talks to host a leg of next year's Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Beach Volleyball Tour.

"We're very excited about (hosting a leg of the tour)," said the 50-year-old. "At the same time, we want to prepare it well, because it's a big project.

"It'll be bigger than this time round. The SEA championships are only a warm-up."

The AVC Beach Volleyball Tour tournament took in five venues in three countries last year - Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Ang hopes to attract more locals to the events by having post-tournament entertainment.

At this week's SEA championships, for example, there are after-party activities on Friday and Saturday night, featuring live performances from local artistes Jack & Rai, 53A and Second Sunrise.

Beyond that, however, top-level tournaments are a positive step towards the development of the local beach volleyball scene.

Brian Tan, VAS' head council member of beach events, said: "We're hoping that with the high profile of beach volleyball (competitions), it will help thrust (the sport) to the next level.

"We're not only looking at high performance, we're also looking at high participation, so more grassroots-level events."

To nurture the grassroots level, one of the plans in discussion is to introduce an inter-varsity competition by next year, targeted at Institute of Technical Education colleges, polytechnics and universities.

And with beach volleyball courts being available at only four locations island-wide, the association is already discussing with the authorities to double that figure.

Ho Cai Jun

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline 'Asian tour may visit S'pore shores next year'. Subscribe