Beach volleyball: Serve, set and spike at Siloso

Taliqua Clancy of Australia attempting to block a spike from Poland's Katarzyna Kociolek during the final of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Qinzhou Open last October. Singapore is set to play host to some of the world's top beach volleyball pla
Taliqua Clancy of Australia attempting to block a spike from Poland's Katarzyna Kociolek during the final of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Qinzhou Open last October. Singapore is set to play host to some of the world's top beach volleyball players in June.PHOTO: FIVB

S'pore will host beach volleyball world tour event for the first time in June at Sentosa

Amateur beach volleyball players are a common sight on Sentosa's Siloso Beach.

But come June, they will have to make way for some of the world's top professionals with the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Volleyball World Tour due to make a stop in Singapore for the first time.

The four-day, US$50,000 (S$66,760) competition will feature 24 teams each in the men's and women's categories. As the host country, Singapore will be allowed to field two pairs in each division for the June 21-24 event.

The other teams will be selected from the entrants with the most ranking points on the FIVB World Tour rankings.

Volleyball Association of Singapore (VAS) president Ang Wei Neng said yesterday: "Singapore is an island and we have beautiful beaches everywhere so it's a natural place to play the sport.

"We hope to bring some of the top players from around the world here to demonstrate the speed and dynamism of beach volleyball."

He added that an FIVB representative had been in town last September when the VAS staged the South-east Asian Beach Volleyball Championships, and was impressed with what he had seen.

"He encouraged us to conduct a world tour event and with some preparation and support from our partners, we decided to ride on the momentum and take up the challenge," said Ang, who is also an MP for Jurong GRC.

The FIVB World Tour is a year-long series that runs from September to August similar in format to tennis' pro circuits.

The 41 events this year are broken into five tiers, from one-star (lowest) to five-star respectively. The Singapore stop is a two-star event.

Pool play will take place over the first two days, with the second round and quarter-finals on June 23 and the semi-finals and finals on June 24. Tickets for each day cost $20.

There will also be a range of lifestyle events for fans during the tournament, including music festivals and night parties.

Hosting an FIVB World Tour event is the latest step in a series of efforts by VAS to develop the game here at the high-performance level.

Canadian Dean Martin was appointed the national beach volleyball coach in February last year with the aim of making a breakthrough at the regional level.

His tenure has already borne fruit, with the women's beach volleyball team qualifying for April's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

VAS head council member of beach events Brian Tan said the FIVB event would serve as further exposure for the national team.

"Two-star events normally can draw teams which are ranked in the top 30 in the world, so playing against these top teams will definitely be good exposure for our players," he said.

"We're especially hoping that the Brazilians and Americans will come. Their teams are always very good."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'Serve, set & spike at Siloso'. Print Edition | Subscribe