By Trevor J. Adams
This summer, a vacant lot on the Halifax waterfront found new life, transforming into a unique urban beach park. Workers brought in 2,000 tonnes of sand, creating a beach like park on the waterfront boardwalk at the foot of Salter Street. (Although there is no water access—that’s one of the East Coast’s busiest shipping lanes out there).
Planners wanted to create a space that could host special events and be enjoyed year-round by locals and visitors alike. The new venue’s first big event is the FIVB Junior Beach Volleyball World Championships, running from August 31 to September 4.
The five-day tournament draws over 400 delegates and athletes from more than 30 countries in Halifax for both the men’s and women’s championships. With top athletes (all age 21 or younger) competing, the action is fast paced and exciting. There is particular excitement for this year’s after Canadians Sam Schater and Garrett May went undefeated in Turkey in 2010, winning the country’s first gold medal. “It was really surreal to win the championship… and knowing that it is coming to Canada next year,” says Schater. ‘[It’s] really poignant for both Garrett and myself.”
Organizers are seeing an upsurge in interest in the sport. “This championship comes as we see the continued proliferation of our sport across Canada,” says Volleyball Canada spokesman Ed Drakich. “Bringing the best in the World Junior divisions and the FIVB tournament to Halifax in 2011 is history in the making.”
Halifax’s unique new beach park makes it one of the more unique venues to welcome the event. Event producer Derek Martin believes the venue and the timing of the championship make Halifax a good fit for the event. “The Halifax Waterfront provides an absolutely stunning location and our date will allow us to celebrate the end of summer with a party that the whole world is invited to attend,” he says.
The Big Leagues
The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) consists of 220 affiliated federations. It governs the sport worldwide through tournaments such as the World Championships, World League, World Grand Prix, World Tour, World Championships, Continental Beach Volleyball Cup, Beach Volleyball World Cup, World Cup, Grand Champions Cup, Junior and Youth tournaments and the Olympics.
Beginning with 64 teams, the event features five high-octane days of competition, climaxing in the gold medal game at on the afternoon of September 4. Surrounding the competition is SandJam, a series of concerts and special events that are open to the public. Follow the link for more.