Everyone who loves beach volleyball will have their eyes on the north German city of Hamburg as the city hosts the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Volleyball teams from around the world will all be battling it out on the sand from 29 June – 7 July 2019 for the biggest prizes and accolades in the world of Volleyball.
The origins of volleyball
Volleyball is over a century old, having been invented in 1895 in Massachusetts. It was originally called Mintonette and the intention was to develop an indoor sport similar to basketball that could be played by older people who couldn’t do the running involved in basketball. The name changed when participants noticed the number of volleys the sport involved. In 1947 the advent of the Federation of Internationale de Volleyball began and the first Volleyball World Championships started soon after. Volleyball’s popularity quickly grew and spread from America to Europe, Brazil and around the world.
Beach Volleyball: Taking the sport outdoors
In 1915 George David Centre played volleyball with friends on the sand on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii and Beach Volleyball as we know it began. The Santa Monica Beach Club was founded in 1927 and five more clubs were established in California – making Southern California the home of beach volleyball. In 1996 Beach Volleyball became an Olympic sport in the Atlanta Games and in 1997 the first official Beach Volleyball World Championships took place.
Fun facts about Volleyball
- Before the Volleyball was created, players used the smooth inside basketball bladder to play.
- The rules were very easy in the start and there were not many of them. There was also no bump, set, spike, the three-hit rule method that is very common today. Instead, a varied number of people would invade the court, and once the serve was done, the main goal was to keep the ball in the air until one side failed.
- From the 1940s to the 1950s, volleyball spread quickly in popularity, due to the Second World War.
- The YMCA taught the sport to the soldiers in Germany as a way to help spread Christianity around the world. The soldiers from Germany, Italy and Japan learned Volleyball and then took it home after the war, teaching their friends and family.
- The oldest recorded volleyball match was played continued for 75 hours and 30 minutes. The match was performed using the ancient technique of scoring volleyball, which implied that only one point was granted when the serving squad performed.
Young players are taking charge
In the past, Beach Volleyball was dominated by older more experienced players but in 2018 two young Norwegians – Anders Mol and Christian Sørum, aged just 21 and 22, took the Volleyball world by storm, becoming the youngest winners of a Beach Major Series tournament in Gstaad, Vienna and then again in Hamburg when they took the final title of the season. Anders Mol and Christian Sørum together, with Sandra Ittlinger and Chantal Laboureur, have been ranked as the number one seeds for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Hamburg 2019.
8 nations to represent Africa
Five male teams and three female teams will represent Africa at the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. South African Volleyball stars Leo Williams and Grant Goldschmidt are sure to be taking part after recently entering the record books when they became the first team from Africa to win a medal on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour which took place in Cambodia a few weeks ago. The team won a silver medal after finishing second, losing to Russia 2-0. Williams says that their performance proves that South Africa can compete with the best at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
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