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Beach volleyball tourney highlights growing interest in the sport

By: Marie W. Conway

Date Posted: 1999-10-08

Ever since beach volleyball became an Olympic sport, its popularity has grown rapidly. This dramatic surge in the sport was clearly in evidence Saturday September 26 when 81 teams competed in the 1999 Coca-Cola Beach Volleyball Tournament, held at the Sun Marina Hotel, where players from 18 to 40 took part.

Arthur Arao, one of the directors of the Okinawa Beach Volleyball Federation, said: “This is a fantastic event because everyone is here due to their common bond and mutual love of the game.” But he did mention that he would like to see “more Americans play in more off-base activities."

Americans and Japanese enjoyed themselves, and it mattered not that there were losers and winners, the sportsmanship from all competitors was exemplary. In fact, the event was as much a cross-cultural event as it was a sporting contest. According to two competitors, Tanya Perea and Tracy Trinh, they not only enjoyed playing volleyball with the Japanese, interacting with them on a social level was just as exciting and rewarding.

Winners of the men’s division were Beach Bariyazu and Goddess for the women’s division, with each team receiving ¥100,000 in prize money. Tsuyoponzu won the co-ed division, which earned them ¥30,000 for their efforts. This tournament was sponsored by Sun Marina Hotel, Coca-Cola, Air Okinawa, Radio Okinawa, Mizuno and other companies.

The next beach volleyball tournament will be held October 31 on Naminoue Beach. For those of you who are advanced players, volleyball die-hards play open ball at the Foster Field House Wednesday and Sundays from 6-10 p.m. If you’d like more information about how you can get involved contact Arao at : Arthur.Arao@kadena.af.mil.

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