At the fourth installment of this massive sporting expo, beach volleyball was back on the line-up at the Arnold Classic Africa 2019 along with about 90 others sports codes involving more than 24 000 athletes in total. Named for its co-promotor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the original Arnold Sports Festival was founded in the USA in 1989. The legendary bodybuilder and film star was present at the Johannesburg event, with many volleyballers sneaking in a photo, while he spent some time around the beach courts.
The 4-a-side tournament, which ran from 17-19 May, was organised by Pococks Action Beach Sports in conjunction with Tennis South Africa, who also ran a beach tennis event next to the volleyball.
On Friday there was a masters competition for players aged 30+ at the purpose-built sand court on Alice Lane that formed part of the street festival of the event. At the same time, the round robin stages of the tournament for the men’s, ladies’ and mixed teams took place at the Pococks indoor beach arena at the Deco Park venue in North Riding.
On Saturday and Sunday the action continued at the main festival. The weather could not have been more ideal for the tournament, that attracted over 30 volleyball teams. With no wind and summer-like temperatures, Sandton’s temporary beach proved to be a unique and pleasant location for players and spectators alike.
It was inspiring to have so many young teams participating, with players from Varsity College, AISJ, Tuks as well as other schools and universities. Although the new young talent provided some intense power plays with exhilarating spectator value, this time experience still seemed to earn most gold on the podium.
Although the beach players all play for the love of the game, the total of R28 000 prize money added a very welcome incentive. It is wonderful to have sponsors that promote the sport. Siliq Sand, Doppio Zero and the South African Diving Industry Breakfast Club sponsored the ladies, mixed and men’s divisions, while Siliq Sand, Tyres & More (Randpark Ridge), Warren Sieberts and Aqua Darshan Water backed the Masters competition on Friday.
After three days of fun in the sun and epic battles in the sand, these were the results:
- Pococks Ladies (Kirsten, Vita, Natasha, Lu)
- Setsy Ladies (Sashnee, Claire, Lise, Nicky, Janka)
- African Queens (Rejoice, Jaxx, Sam, Grace)
- Pococks Men (Colin, Morais, Jeremy, Charlie, Keifer)
- Kiss My Ace (Riko, Erwin, Danilo, Robin, Branden)
- Digz Beach Men (Jared, Warwick, Igor, Roan)
- Pococks Mixed (Kirsten, Colin, Vita, Jeremy, Morais)
- My Beach (Erwin, Danilo, Janka, Nicky)
- Digz Beach Mixed (Karina, Jared, Tatiana, Rob)
- Pococks Masters (Colin, Morais, Jamaine, Sven)
- Alternate Energy (Matthew, Warren, Myendra, Andre)
- Reaper Crew (Jeremy, Andile, Shane, Casper)
A big thank you to Colin and Kirsten for making the tournament a reality, Casper for running things behind the scenes (as well as fetching the balls a gazillion times, when they went over the fence), and Kevan for the excellent commentary.
Masters’ medal winners
More photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Xfv5uH42Qoq8zS8g9