Highly rated men and women teams will be seen in action in the Second edition of FIVB Challenger Beach Volleyball Championship slated to be held in Chennai from September 27 to October 2.
In the first edition hosted in Chennai in 2008, Indian women did not take part because of the ‘bikini’ dress code for the game.
“This year, however, players from Goa have agreed to abide by the dress code and hopefully, we will be fielding women’s teams. The men’s event will comprise 32 teams and the women’s category will consist of 24 teams”, AJ Martin Sudhakar, tournament director, said last night.
Apart from Brazil, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, teams from England, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Thailand, China and Japan will be participating in the event.
The total prize money for the event would be $70,000 ($40,000 for the men and $30,000 for women).
Being the host country, India would be allowed to field three teams each in women’s and men’s section.
“In the last edition, we could not field women’s teams as the Indians were shy of the dress code,” Sudhakar said.
“Internationally teams are ranked at the end of every month and the top 24 teams are allowed to participate in World Tour and World Championship events. Only teams ranked 25 to 82 can participate in the challenger event,” he said adding that this rule does not apply to host countries.
While eight qualifiers would be spotted, 24 teams (21 direct entries and three Indian squads) would make the men’s main draw, while 20 teams (including three Indian teams) and four teams to be identified from the qualifying event would be in the women's main draw.
Sudhakar said the event is expected to be held at Elliot’s Beach.
The organisers were trying to convince the government to allow the tournament to be held at the Marina, which is the second largest beach in the world, Sudhakar said.
“Impressed with the conduct of the first edition of the challenger in 2008, FIVB wanted us to conduct a World Tour event. But we thought, we need to be better prepared to take up the mega show,” Volleyball Federation of India secretary K Murugan said.
"The Asian Volleyball Confederation should have taken up the event. But they were reluctant because of the Commonwealth and Asian Games being held this year. The FIVB interacted directly with us and we accepted the offer,” Sudhakar said.