It starts today in four cities of the Netherlands and aims to set an example in sports event management
The Beach Volleyball World Championships start today in the Netherlands with the promise to be a unique experience for fans and an example of innovation in sports event management. For the first time ever, the World Championships will be held in four different cities in unique venues, all very spectacular: a floating stadium in front of the Parliament in The Hague, a temporary stadium in Dam Square in Amsterdam in front of the Royal Palace behind, a stadium built in the middle of Market Square in Apeldoorn, and a final venue erected alongside the most luxurious cruise ship in Rotterdam.
The organisation of the 2015 World Championships, which end on 5 July, counts among its members two known faces from the Johan Cruyff Institute: Dorien Tenhaeff, staff member of the Dutch Volleyball Federation (Nevobo) and responsible for the development and promotion of grassroots beach volleyball during the tournament, as well as being project leader of all events that take place in The Hague; and former Olympian Richard Schuil, who will act as ambassador in Amsterdam and will look after relations with the players, VIPs and the media. Both have completed the Master in Sports Management at the Cruyff Institute Amsterdam.
“Promotion is one of the areas where more resources have been used,” says Dorien Tenhaeff. “We use these events to return volleyball to its origins: the schools. But we’ll do it with modern methods: through beach volleyball and the ‘smash’ technique. The smash and the speed of execution are two basic aspects of volleyball and are fun in the eyes of children and young people. In addition, all the events surrounding the World Championships will serve to show the whole country how spectacular this sport can be”.
To promote grassroots volleyball, a campaign called ‘Join’ has been created. “We organise clinics, an activity called ‘back to school’, in which elite players visit different colleges, and we will also see the ‘Join Volleyball Bus’, with some very entertaining games. This campaign is a great platform for volleyball clubs and associations; they can benefit from the initiative of the ‘Join’ campaign to promote their club among schools. So publicity is generated at all levels, local and national”.
The impact of the Volleyball World Championships is already being felt. The event has around 400 ambassadors and the host cities have thrown themselves into the competition. “We have organised parallel volleyball courses in the street, with 13 urban courts in The Hague, including some Cruyff Courts, where there will be clinics and a tournament on 1 July that will include the participation of elite players. And on 27 July, we are going to try and get a world record, in a tournament with the participation of more than 3,000 players at 300 beach volleyball courts”, explains Dorien.
Richard Schuil has been a reference in Dutch volleyball, participating in five Olympics in indoor and beach disciplines. It was at his first Games when he had most success, winning the gold medal with the team that represented the Netherlands in Atlanta ’96. During his later stage in the sand, paired with Reinder Nummerdor, he won eight golds in the World Tour, three European and five national titles. At this World Championships, Richard will take care of the players, VIPs and the media at the Amsterdam headquarters. “It will be very rewarding and a big challenge for me. I’ve been working for some time now on the preparations for the World Championships. I have participated in a series of clinics for children in Amsterdam, we’ve inaugurated the countdown in Dam Square and I am in contact with the sponsors of the event”.
The Hague will be the headquarters of the World Championships, where the opening match, the semi-finals and the final will be played. It will also be one of the most spectacular venues: a floating stadium on the Hofvijver pond for which 622 platforms have been used to support 200 cubic metres of sand. This complex with the Parliament of the city as a backdrop has a grandstand for 5,500 spectators and is the largest of the four World Championship venues.
In Amsterdam, the action will take place in Dam Square, in front of the Royal Palace, the most central area of the city and a meeting point for tourists. Dam Square has hosted national beach volleyball events in the past, but to build a temporary stadium with capacity for 2,000 spectators is a first at this location. 49 matches will be played here, between qualifying rounds and quarter-finals.
All the matches in Apeldoorn will be played in Market Square, in a temporary stadium with 2,000 grandstand seats, where there will be a unique atmosphere being surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants. 87 matches will be played here, between preliminary rounds, round of 32, round of 16 and quarter-finals.
Rotterdam could not turn its back on its large port and will take full advantage of it. The stadium will be erected alongside the cruise ship SS Rotterdam, the transatlantic that in its day covered the Holland-America route. The press room, the hospitality suites and also the suites for VIPs and players will be located on the ship.