It’s been all go for the last couple of months at 40 Forth Street, Invercargill. What were once immaculate, smooth, bowling greens, have been transformed and re-purposed into sand volleyball courts, with the complex now known as the Otepuni Community Hub. It also happens to be officially, the southernmost beach volleyball centre in the world.
The hub has been completed just in time for a week-long extravaganza of volleyball, around 2000 players and supporters will descend upon the city for competitions in both Beach Volleyball and Indoor Volleyball.
Volleyball Southland will be hosting the 2020 South Island Junior Secondary Schools Indoor and Beach Volleyball Championships, starting on Sunday November 22nd with the Opening Ceremony at ILT Stadium Southland, and the week culminates in King & Queen of the Court Exhibition Games on Sunday 29th November, at Cargo Brewery at Waitiri Creek, Gibbston Valley, near Queenstown.
Volleyball Southland Chair, Donna Milne said Southlanders had really gotten behind the project to transform the former bowling greens into sand courts, and the premises into a community hub for darts and other community groups. She said they’ve used and sourced as much as possible from Southland businesses, who have helped make it all happen.
“It’s been incredible, they’ve donated, given, discounted, supplied, sponsored, you name it, we’ve been backed in every conceivable way. It really is Southlanders supporting Southlanders, for the benefit of the Southland community”.
The public are invited to attend the games and there’s also some special events during the week, to make the most of so many volleyball players gathering together in one place.
“It’s a great opportunity to see some of the diversity in playing numbers we have from social, and South Island Juniors, through to the best New Zealand Beach Volleyball players in action ” said Mrs Milne.
Mike Watson is a member of the NZ Beach Blacks and currently ranked number one in NZ. He’s also a member of the Continental Cup team attempting to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next year, and he’s coming to Invercargill to participate in the week of games.
“I’m looking forward to returning to the deep south after six years. We don’t get many opportunities to play down there so I’m excited for the upcoming events”.
He said he’s also looking forward to coaching some of the junior athletes and hopefully inspiring them to play Beach Volleyball for NZ! Having played the game for around fifteen years, he has considerable expertise in the sport to share with young players in the south.
The Opening Ceremony will take place on Sunday 22nd November 2020 at 7pm, Court 1, main playing arena at ILT Stadium Southland. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Monday 23rd to Wednesday 25th November:
South Island Junior Indoor Championship, Venue: ILT Stadium Southland.
Playing Times: 8.00am – 8.00pm
Wednesday 25th November:
Glow in the Dark Social for Kids is at 7pm, Ascot Park Hotel – Ticket sales for registered SIJ players https://www.sporty.co.nz/viewform/150133 NO DOOR SALES.
Coaches/Managers function with guest speakers NZ Beach Volleyball reps: Julia Tilley, Shaunna Polley, Johann Timmer and Mike Watson. The top four NZ beachies will have a Q&A session with life members. Venue: Ascot Park Hotel. Capped entry – RSVP by Tuesday 24th Nov to: Alissa@volleysouth.org.nz NO DOOR SALES.
Thursday 26th November:
Junior Beach Championship
Venue: Otepuni Community Hub, 40 Forth Street Invercargill 8.00am – 2.30pm
Register at: https://www.sporty.co.nz/viewform/140702
U18 Beach Development Camp – caters for 11 to 18 year olds: run by NZ players Shaunna Polley, Julia Tilley, and Mike Watson.
Venue: Otepuni Community Hub, 40 Forth Street, Invercargill 4.00pm - 8.00 pm.
Register at: https://www.sporty.co.nz/viewform/150169
Friday 27th – Saturday 28th November:
Southland Beach Open (VNZ Beach Series 3-Star)
Venue: Otepuni Community Hub, 40 Forth Street, Invercargill.
Friday: 10.00am – 8.00pm (pool play)
Saturday: 2.00pm – 8.00pm (playoffs, semifinals, finals)
Spectator entry $2, cash bar and canteen open, music and great atmosphere with NZ’s top beach volleyballers.
Register here to compete: https://www.sporty.co.nz/viewform/150228
Saturday 28th November:
Southland Beach Challenger (VNZ Beach Series 2-Star) Social competitive players sign up!
Venue: Otepuni Community Hub, 40 Forth Street, Invercargill 9.00am – 5.00pm
Spectator entry $2, cash bar and canteen open, music and great atmosphere Register here to compete: https://www.sporty.co.nz/viewform/150127
Sunday 29th November:
2020 King & Queen of the Court Exhibition Games
Venue: Cargo Brewery at Waitiri Creek, 2323 Gibbston Valley, Queenstown. Play commences at 11.00am with mens’ finals scheduled for 2pm
Register here to compete: https://www.sporty.co.nz/viewform/140734