For the last 20 years (since the time an Asian men’s tour event was first held in Marina in 1993), the State beach volleyball players haven’t had an exclusive place to practise at the beach.
They continue to train at the Nehru Stadium.
A.J. Martin Sudhakar, Chairman, Indian Beach Volleyball Council, has been in constant touch with the authorities in the Chennai Corporation and has impressed upon them the need to have an area earmarked for exclusive practice at the Marina. But nothing has happened so far.
The Asia Pacific under-21 championship, which concluded on Sunday, reinforced the wide gulf between the Indian teams and the foreign teams. And it drove home the need to have a facility for the local players to train.
“We are sure if we get a place here in Marina (where the Asia Pacific event was held), our players can practise regularly and can develop further,” said Sudhakar, who is also the Beach Council Member of the Asian Volleyball Confederation.
Beach volleyball is an Olympic sport, and India, according to Sudhakar, has the potential to win a lot of medals. “At the moment, I agree that the sport is not popular. But once it is introduced in School Games and Universities, I am sure it will grow. I am confident that there is lot of scope to make beach volleyball more appealing,” he said.
When the senior National championship was organised in Chennai (Marina) last year, the then Member Secretary promised to allocate a place in Marina, said Sudhakar.
During the same time, P.W.C. Davidar, who was the Corporation Commissioner, said the place looked ideal for beach games and water sports.
He also suggested that the area be earmarked for walking trials and a mini golf course.
With the help of their State Governments, Goa and Hyderabad have acquired a permanent place for its beach volleyball players.
In Goa, players practise at Miramar Beach, and at Hyderabad, they train at the area surrounding the Hussain Sagar Lake (popularly called the Necklace Road).
Sudhakar is hopeful that things will change and the State Government will favourably consider the matter.