Beach Volleyball will feature for the first time at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.
In an area synonymous with exceptional beaches, the inclusion of Beach Volleyball has been welcomed heartily by Volleyball England chief executive Lisa Wainwright.
“This is fantastic news which has been many years in the making,” said Lisa. “Our honorary president, Richard Callicott OBE has been instrumental in persuading for the inclusion of Beach Volleyball into the Commonwealth Games for both men and women, and we’re delighted that it will be part of such an iconic event.
“Our beach pair, Chris Gregory and Jake Sheaf, are currently working hard to keep their Olympic dreams alive and to be in with a chance of representing their country at another iconic event, is a great motivator.”
This historic move will see an increase in the number of sports at the Games from 17 to 18.
Chris Gregory, who is currently playing for England on the FIVB World Beach Tour, said: “Having beach volleyball introduced into the Commonwealth Games in 2018 is massive, and a huge boost for the sport.
“We are really happy that the sport will be showcased on the iconic Gold Coast, giving beach volleyball athletes in the UK a major event to strive towards. The Commonwealth Games will now be a future focus for us, and a major milestone where we will aim to represent our country well."
Jake Sheaf added: “The addition of beach volleyball to the Commonwealth Games is testament to the way the sport is booming as a whole.
“The sport is growing annually and after the great success and popularity it’s had in other major events, such as the Olympics, it’s great to see it as part of another major games.
“It'll give not only a great opportunity to us, and England, but to many other aspiring nations hoping to represent as part of the Commonwealth."
“It's something to strive towards and we hope the positive impact it will have will inspire the next generation of aspiring athletes too."
Kirk Pitman, who coaches the England men’s beach team said: “This is amazing news for the sport of beach volleyball and potentially a fantastic opportunity for Chris and Jake.
“It has been in the pipeline for a while so to see it finally come into fruition is great.”
The agreement was struck between the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), the Queensland Government, the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) to pave the way for beach volleyball’s inclusion.
President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Louise Martin CBE, endorsed the decision to add an iconic sport like Beach Volleyball to the GC2018 programme.
“The CGF Executive Board is delighted to approve the inclusion of Beach Volleyball in the sports programme of the XXI Commonwealth Games, which will allow nations to compete in more sports, engage and inspire spectators, broadcasters and commercial partners, and create a spectacular sporting showcase for the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia on the world stage.
“We look forward to experiencing Beach Volleyball for the first time ever at a Commonwealth Games.”
Beach Volleyball is set to be the iconic sport at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and with the spectacular Gold Coast Beaches, it could be equally as iconic in 2018.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be staged from 4 – 15 April 2018.