28 February 2024

The ACT Beach Volleyball Open provides an opportunity to showcase the sport in Canberra

| Tim Gavel
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The ACT beach volleyball facility. Photo: Volleyball Australia Facebook.

The eight-court beach volleyball facility at Lyneham gets plenty of use. Photo: Roy Meuronen Photography

Given Canberra’s geographical location, more than two hours from the sea, beach volleyball could be considered a novelty.

But speak to advocates of beach volleyball in the ACT and it becomes immediately obvious that there are aspirations to grow the sport in Canberra both at the elite and participation levels.

Canberra landscaper Tom Attrill is in the elite category for the sport. The 25-year-old, ranked close to 40 in Australia, has ambitions to play in the top division on the National and Futures Tours.

Canberra beach volleyballer Tom Attrill in action in the 2023 ACT Open

Canberra beach volleyballer Tom Attrill in action at the 2023 ACT Open. Photo: Roy Meuronen Photography.

Tom was part of the AIS Centre of Excellence program and a member of the Canberra Heat, where the application was primarily on indoor volleyball.

But he says he fell in love with volleyball’s beach version, which has become his focus. He says many people would be surprised at the passion players have for beach volleyball in Canberra.

“The sport is growing in Canberra,” says Tom, “We now have a beach volleyball academy with good coaching for juniors, men and women. It’s aimed at all levels. There are some very good juniors coming through. We have an eight-court facility at Lyneham, which is getting plenty of use with the numbers growing.”

The Lyneham courts were put to the test in 2022 when the Cobram leg of the Australian tour was washed out and Canberra was called upon to take over as host.

The sport will again be in the spotlight in Canberra on the weekend of 9 to 10 March with the staging of the ACT Open.

It will provide the opportunity for players, such as Tom, to showcase their talents on their home courts.

“The ACT Open has points on offer, which can be accrued with the ranking system and used for seedings for the next event. The ACT Open will have 16 Division One teams in the men’s and women’s with up to 40 teams in Division Two.”

So, with more points on offer and prize money, the attraction to compete in the ACT Open is obvious for the top players.

No doubt there will be queries from competitors coming from outside Canberra about the inland location and whether the sport can be played here in winter. But Tom understands the nuances of Canberra as a beach volleyball location.

“A lot of people have a laugh and ask plenty of questions when they come to Canberra to play but they come away impressed by the facilities and the organisation. In terms of playing in winter, we take a couple of months off in the cold. It gives us a chance to rest our bodies and time away from training and competition is important.”

The ACT Beach Volleyball Open takes place at the Lyneham facility from 9 to 10 March. There will be plenty of food and entry is free. It’s the perfect opportunity for locals to come and see some of the best beach volleyball players in action.

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