Commonwealth Games: Scots eye Australia beach volleyball debut

Lynne Beattie (left) in action for Team GB in London
Lynne Beattie (left) captained Team GB at the 2012 Olympics in London

Scotland are hoping to put together a beach volleyball team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The sport is to be one of 18 disciplines included at the event, which will be held in the Gold Coast from 4-15 April 2018.

It follows a special request to the Games organisers from the Queensland authorities.

Commonwealth Games Scotland chairman Paul Bush said the announcement was a "huge boost" for beach volleyball.

He said: "We will now continue to work closely with colleagues at Scottish Volleyball to develop the necessary criteria to ensure that we can select a team that competes with distinction.

"There is no better place to showcase this exciting sport than in Gold Coast."

The announcement was also welcomed by Lynne Beattie, who captained Great Britain's London 2012 Olympic volleyball team and who is Scotland's number one international beach athlete.

"I would be overjoyed at the opportunity to represent Scotland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and look forward to hearing more about the qualification process later in the year," she said.

The Gold Coast Games will become the first to include beach volleyball and extends the number of sports involved from 17 to 18.

Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland state's premier, said: "The Games is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase Queensland to the world and, with beach volleyball now locked in to make its Commonwealth Games debut, vision of the Gold Coast's iconic beaches will be beamed to an audience of over 1.5 billion people around the world."

Two 12-team tournaments will be contested, one for men's teams and one for women's teams, consisting of two players per team.

A qualification system will be developed in collaboration with the international volleyball federation, FIVB, and will be finalised by July.

Volleyball Scotland chief executive Margaret Ann Fleming said: "I am confident that our athletes are ready to embrace this opportunity and I look forward to 2018 with optimism."

The news of beach volleyball's inclusion has also been welcomed by Volleyball England chief executive Lisa Wainwright.

"This is fantastic news which has been many years in the making," she said.

Kirk Pitman, who coaches the England men's beach team of Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf, said: "This is amazing news for the sport of beach volleyball and potentially a fantastic opportunity for Chris and Jake."

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