The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), in partnership with Volleyball Australia and Sport Australia has today launched an Australian-first all-weather beach volleyball training facility to identify future Olympic gold medallists.
The AIS has redesigned an existing multi-purpose training venue on site in Canberra to house two new indoor beach volleyball courts next to the existing indoor nets.
2019 World Championship Bronze Medallists Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar were joined by Olympic Gold Medallist Natalie Cook in Canberra to officially open the new facility and signal a new era for volleyball in Australia.
The indoor beach courts are all part of Volleyball Australia's vision to transform the Centre of Excellence scholarship program at the AIS to have athletes train for indoor and beach as part of the same program.
The Centre of Excellence, which will now be known as the Australian Volleyball Academy, is home to 15 female and 15 male athletes and has traditionally had an indoor only focus.
Volleyball Australia is looking to identify and develop the best volleyball talent with a key focus on Olympic success.
AIS CEO Peter Conde said the decision to re-purpose the existing facility made perfect sense with the best indoor athletes already training full-time on site.
"We're really pleased to be able to extend the AIS on-site offering to Volleyball Australia to provide further support to the beach program," Conde said.
"Working with the teams at Sport Australia and Volleyball Australia, we've created a fit-for-purpose all-weather facility to complement the existing indoor training environment. This means athletes can have all their training and high performance needs met, here in one place."
More than 550 cubic metres of sand was sourced from a quarry in Newcastle to fit-out the new courts after a several month search for the perfect sample to meet international volleyball standards.
Volleyball Australia CEO Andrew Dee said the facility will now allow their athletes to train for both indoor and beach volleyball without having to travel or worry about the conditions.
"This a momentous occasion for volleyball in Australia. With state-of-the-art beach and indoor training facilities, the AIS is now the home of the Australian Volleyball Academy."
"The Australian Volleyball Academy will host the next generation of elite volleyball players in an integrated full-time training program designed to achieve international volleyball success. A key role of the program will be to identify and develop the next Olympic Gold Medallist in beach volleyball."
The facility will also feature state-of-the-art technology to allow athletes and coaches to review their technique in real-time. Two fixed high definition and two roaming cameras will stream vision to large screens as well as handheld devices to provide instant analysis of the athlete training environment leading to increased performance.