High quality international sport will come to Blackpool next month (September 14 and 15) when the famous resort hosts the first-ever floodlit international beach volleyball tournament to be held in the UK.
Leading players from the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Greece and Spain will come for the Blackpool International Beach Volleyball 2007, hot off the FIVB World Tour and World Championships, where the first Olympic qualifying places for Beijing will have been achieved.
Eight all-female teams will battle it out in a custom-built, 1,000-seater arena on the iconic Blackpool promenade which is currently undergoing a Â£62 million reconstruction.
The line-up includes England squad members Denise Johns and Lucy Boulton with Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullins and the event is being staged as part of the cityâ€™s desire to host a European Tour event in 2008 and a World Tour event in 2009, alongside tournaments in other sand sports. For volleyball it means an opportunity for British players to gain experience of a home crowd in the lead up the 2012 Olympics.
Absolute beginners from the north-west will get the chance to try their hand, too, at this Olympic sport with organisers planning a youth and community tournament on September 13.
Sand for the event will come from Blackpoolâ€™s world-famous beaches and will be re-used subsequently as in-fill for the new areas of seawall.
Peter Mearns, North West Development Agency (NWDA) Executive Director for Marketing, said:
â€œThe NWDA is investing Â£3.5 million to support a programme of signature events in Blackpool over the next three years, as part of our commitment to the resortâ€™s ongoing regeneration. Major events have an important role to play in Blackpoolâ€™s economic renaissance, helping to attract more business and leisure visitors to the area and raising its profile as a place to visit and invest. The beach volleyball championships will be a fantastic addition to Blackpoolâ€™s programme of events this year, and will showcase the resortâ€™s regenerated promenade, also part funded by the NWDA.â€
Blackpool International Beach Volleyball 2007 is timed to coincide with the celebrated â€œIlluminationsâ€ and event spectators will also catch the spectacular heats of the World Fireworks Championships from their seats. Organisers are also planning a fire show on a special stage, on Saturday 15, during breaks in play, making this an attractive spectator package.
Entry for this innovative event will be free of charge but by ticket via VisitBlackpool from September 1 or from the box office at the arena from September 12 onwards. For further details of tickets please contact the Blackpool Visitor First Centre on 01253 478222 or visit www.visitblackpool.com
For further information contact: The Blackpool International Beach Volleyball 2007 press office on 01225 383518 or Tash Carpenter on 07765 258432
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