Saturday, April 24, 2010

Batam Beach Volley Ball tourney sets new standards

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Nongsa, Batam Wed, 04/21/2010 12:07 PM

After a year of preparations, the first Batam Open Asia-Pacific Beach Volleyball Tournament finally will kick off on Wednesday, with some top beach volleyball players form 12 Asia-Pacific countries set to take part. Twenty-three men’s teams and 16 women’s teams from powerhouse countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Japan, India and Hong Kong have arrived to for the tournament, which has been endorsed by the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC).
“We have been preparing for this event for about a year and it has been quite a struggle to get this event off the ground. We first got approval from the National Sports Council [KONI] and later also got approval from the AVC and this very first event in Batam finally included in the Asian Circuit,” tournament chairman Djoko Pramono said.
The tournament, which runs from April 21-24, will be unique. Unlike other beach volleyball contests, this will be held on man-made courts purpose built on a cliff at the Turi Beach Resort in Nongsa, Batam, with a nice view to Singapore and Johor, Malaysia. The other unique aspect of this competition is that it will be played at night.
“I’m very impressed with the venue. I’ve been to a lot of events in the past 20 years and coming to this venue and seeing what has been done here is fantastic, … it has something different to other events,” AVC technical delegate Harrison Blair said.
“When Pak Djoko first mentioned to me about hosting the beach volleyball tournament here in Batam, the first thing I asked him was ‘what kind of beach do we need, because we don’t have a lot of beach space here ... and here we are playing beach volleyball on a cliff, overlooking the sea, overlooking the two countries Singapore, and [Malaysia]. That’s quite symbolic,” Asia Pacific Beach Volley Ball chairman Michael Wiluan said.
AVC Beach Volley Ball Council secretary Hercus Andrew was also impressed with the preparations.
“We had a planning meeting this year, and one of the main objectives was is to improve the quality of tournaments. I have to say my first impression is very strong, that this is a very big improvement on tournaments we’ve had in previous years,” Andrew said.
Boasted to be a “potential” tournament to help build a development plan in the lead up to the next Olympic Games, the event is expected to draw at least 1,000 locals during weekdays and up to 2,000 on the weekend.
The tournament, which provides a total of US$ 30,000 in prizes, will start with a group-stage play at the beginning, before moving into single elimination format, in which teams are divided based on rankings. From there it will move into a straight knock-out competition through to the final.
Indonesia will feature three men teams and three women’s team including champion couple Koko Darkuncoro-Andy Ardiyansah.
“The Indonesian men have been doing very well so far, and probably would be considered favorites for the semifinals. With a lot of support from locals, they would be strong candidates,” Andrew said.

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