The Hague, the Netherlands, January 3, 2018 – The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is treading new ground at the 4-Star Dela Beach Open in The Hague, where the entire tournament has moved from outside to inside to allow the players to show off their skills despite the Dutch winter climes.
The tournament that runs from January 3-7 is being played on indoor beach courts at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark and is already proving popular among the players who are able to compete at a top-level tournament when they would normally be involved in warm weather training.
As such there are strong fields for both the women’s and men’s draws, who are both relishing their new surrounds.
“We played here in June and we like playing indoor a lot,” The Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic said. “We have played our best matches indoor so far and we hope to continue like that.
“It is very different and the float serve is dangerous in these conditions. A lot of teams who usually practice outside find it a bit unusual so I would say it is more of an advantage to central European countries who are used to playing inside for almost half of the season.
“The lights are a bit of a problem in the beginning, but after two or three practices you become used to them.”
The Dutch team regularly trains in the venue once the temperature drops from November to March, but for most it is a proving a new and enjoyable challenge to start the season so early in the year.
In 2017 Carolina Salgado and Maria Antonelli won gold in the women’s competition that took place on a centre court build in the park at the height of the Dutch summer. It was used alongside two indoor courts, but this year they have had to leave sunny Rio de Janeiro behind earlier than usual in an attempt to defend their title.
“It is always different to play indoors,” Carolina Salgado said. “We are not used to playing indoors and it is one more thing that we have to play attention to. We are used to always playing on the beach in Rio at 40 degrees, so we have to be very calm and do our best.”
The venue features four permanent beach volleyball courts, which are being used as outside courts and warm-up courts during the tournament. It also features a multi-use main hall where the tournament’s centre court has been built, and where the medal matches will take place on Sunday.
In total there are 11 sports hall for a variety of sports, as well as training, medical and education facilities to ensure that athletes want to for nothing when they walk through the doors.
“It is a fantastic venue and we are fortunate that we are able to use it,” Tournament Director Joep van Iersel said. “They players have adapted to it extremely quickly and you can see that they are happy to have begun the season earlier than usual.
“It is important that beach volleyball innovates and finds new ways to present tournaments and using an indoor arena is a new avenue for hosting tournaments. I’m sure centre court will provide a spectacular setting for the medal matches on Sunday.”