Beach volleyball on parade in London setting


Forget Bondi or even the Copacabana, the iconic central London venue chosen for next year’s Olympic beach volleyball competition is unrivalled, according to a senior official with the International Volleyball Federation. Despite the heavy showers and very un-tropical temperatures experienced in historic Horseguards Parade on Thursday — it was hard to argue with the enthusiasm of Angelo Squeo, who has been involved in four Olympics with the FIVB.
Just a hefty smash from Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and flanked by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Downing Street residence on one side and the imposing old Admiralty Citadel on another, the FIVB are clearly delighted to have landed a venue that could be one of the defining images of London 2012. “The setting is amazing, it’s the best venue ever for beach volleyball. We have never had anything like this,” the FIVB’s events director Squeo told Reuters. “In Atlanta it was 40 minutes from downtown, Bondi was far away from Sydney even if it was prestigious, Athens was in Piraeus, nothing really historic and in Beijing it was on the outer ring of the city.”
In a week in which England has made worldwide headlines for the rioting and looting that started in London and spread across the country, players taking to the sandpit for the 2012 Games test event proved a welcome distraction for ticket holders.