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The Financial Express

Exploring beach volleyball potential

| Updated: January 13, 2022 21:15:47


A match of the recently-held Bangabandhu International Volleyball A match of the recently-held Bangabandhu International Volleyball

Bangladesh Volleyball Federation simultaneously organised "Bangabandhu Asian Central Zone Men's Volleyball Challenge Cup-2021" and "Bangamata Asian Central Zone Women's Volleyball Challenge Cup-2021" from 22nd through 28th December in Dhaka.
Compared to previous editions of the same championships organised by BVF, these ones bore special significance. The events were organised on the glorious occasion of the golden jubilee of independent and sovereign Bangladesh and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who himself was a footballer and great patron of sports. His sons and daughter-in-law left an inspiring legacy in the sports of Bangladesh while Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnisa was the source of inspiration to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in leading the Bangladeshi people towards independence.
Incidentally, the venue of these events was named after Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, senior political associate of Bangabandhu. Thanks to the successful organization of three previous Asian Central Zone Volleyball Championships by BVF this indoor stadium has already gained the recognition of an international volleyball venue.
The schedule of the event in the eventful month of December gave those associated with it in whatever capacity to pay homage to the martyrs of our war of liberation. And the competitors and officials of the participating central Asian Zone had the opportunity to know about the sacrifice made by our sports persons of different disciplines in our liberation war at the call of the Father of the Nation.
Though Bangabandhu Asian Sr. Men's Central Zone Volleyball Championship 2016 was staged in the same venue from December 22 to 27, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, Nepal and hosts Bangladesh took part. Besides, Bangamata Asian Women's Central Zone Volleyball Championship took place in the said venue from 9 to 14 November in 2019 in which the above mentioned countries also took part.
But the concept and context of the championships of 2021 dedicated respectively to the memory of Bangabandhu and Bangamata are different, since these were organised by BVF on the occasion of the centennial birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation and the 50th year of our independence.
It would not be irrelevant to focus on the creation and gradual development of volleyball into one of the most popular and widely-played teamsports. It was created by a Young Men's Christian Association physical education director William G. Morgan in the winter, 1895 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA. It was named 'Mintonette'.
He also wrote down the initial rules of the game. After the first exhibition match played at the International YMCA Training School (later renamed Springfield College), as per proposal of Alfred Halstead, a spectator of the match Mintonette became known as Volleyball.
As a result of the growing practice and popularity beyond the USA, first in Canada and subsequently in South America, Europe, Asia the international governing body of the game Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) was formed in April 1947.
Founder members were Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Uruguay, the USA and Yugoslavia.
Paris, the birth place of Olympic Movement and also the place that saw revival of Olympic Games in the Modern World was the Headquarters of FIVB. A Frenchman, Mr. Paul Libaud, President of French Volleyball Federation, was elected the first president of FIVB.
The seat of FIVB was relocated to Lausanne, the Olympic City in Switzerland. The initial FIVB membership of 14 during the 125 yrs of its foundation rose to 220 affiliated National Federations over five continents. Volleyball is now a high-energy game of substantial aerobic capability of the players.
The first world volleyball championship for men was organised in 1949 in Prague and for Women in 1952. Another popular and low-cost version of the game is Beach Volleyball originated in 1915 on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii and modern version of two-players later in Santa Monica, California, USA.
It has been a popular Olympic event since 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. Volleyball was demonstrated as an American sport in 1924 Paris Olympics. After the World War II, with the foundation of FIVB and some continental federations, a special tournament was held in Sofia, Bulgaria at the time of the 53rd IOC Session. Thus volleyball has been an Olympic discipline since the 1964 Tokyo Olympiad.
And this popular game continued to be in the Olympic with a varied format named 'Olympic format'. For the physically challenged Men and Women, FIVB also organises an event named Paralympics in the same venue after the Olympics.
This justifies the principle of inclusivity pursued by the UNO through Sustainable Development Goals and the Olympic Movement. The number of versions of volleyball competitions of the FIVB, the Continental, Zonal and Regional Volleyball Organisations recognised by the parent organisation is on the increase.
One such version is the "Bangabandhu Asian Central Zone Men's Volleyball Challenge Cup-2021", and "Bangamata Asian Central Zone Women's Volleyball Challenge Cup-2021" held in Dhaka.
Volleyball is a recreational game throughout Bangladesh. It is played extensively in winter. BVF and organisations such as Ministry of Youth & Sports, and National Sports Council may consider spreading this seasonal game widely with necessary technical and logistic support to divert the attention of our youths to games & sports from different forms of addiction, say, excessive use of social media and the like. In the long run this might result in a form of talent hunt.
Volleyball is a very-low cost game. The cost involved in preparation of courts for volleyball and beach volleyball is also within the limit for a volleyball federation or club of an underdeveloped or developing country. The playing surface and surroundings of the game, especially in the case of beach-volleyball, are environment-friendly and suitable for green and sustainable game.
However, the host country of these volleyball championships organised by BVF and named after Bangabandhu and Bangamata is geographically blessed with a vast stretch of a long beach from Cox's Bazar to Teknaf. It is one of the longest unbroken beach, the sand is free from stones and pebble with the least or no risk of injury.
The BVF can focus on transforming this vast expanse of the beach into an international venue of beach volleyball and also transforming the amateur seasonal practice of volleyball all over Bangladesh into an elite sport.

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