Beach volleyball is set to make its debut at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome in November next year, as part of the South Island Junior Secondary Schools' championships.
Volleyball Southland won the right to host the tournament, which includes both beach and indoor volleyball components, and regional development manager Donna Milne couldn't be happier.
"It just goes to show what an asset the new stadium will be - we can host the indoor part of the tournament in the ILT Stadium Southland, and the beach part in the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome," she said.
Sand will be trucked into the velodrome to prepare the volleyball court for the beach championships.
"We are really excited about hosting a tournament at this level. It is fantastic for volleyball in Southland and I am confident [the region] will be well represented both competitively and on the sidelines."
Newly appointed Volleyball New Zealand chief executive Paul Cameron said the strong community support in Southland, as well as the new stadium, put the province on the national body's radar.
Milne's passionate bid to develop and grow volleyball in the south and to host Volleyball New Zealand events in the new ILT Stadium Southland was outstanding, he said.
"Donna has entrenched herself into the local community to gain credibility and has, in return, received amazing support with a working party including Adventure Southland, ILT Stadium Southland, the ILT, Sport Southland and Southland Secondary School Sport," he said.
Milne has recently returned from the South Island Junior Secondary Schools' tournament in Christchurch, where she was results manager. She had originally bid to host the 2015 tournament, but was thrilled when awarded next year's event.
"It could really pave the way for future events such as this, and I've no doubt there will be good interest in the beach component. It will be fantastic to see it all come together," she said.
Milne was already looking forward to the 2014 volleyball season, with the new stadium set to offer more court space and opportunities to grow the game. In term one next year more than 50 teams will come together each Wednesday night and Milne is encouraging all potential teams and players to register their interest as early as possible.
- The Southland Times