Edinburgh-based volleyball star seeks site to build indoor training courts
beach volleyball ace Robin Miedzybrodzki wants a roof over his head '“ to boost his hopes of glory at the Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast in 2018.
The sport will be included in the Games for the first time and Edinburgh-based Miedzybrodzki believes the spectacular Olympic competition on Rio’s Copacabana beach has led to a spike in interest.
But he realises Scotland will never be chasing medals in the sand unless there is a proper indoor training facility.
Miedzybrodzki, 31, knows what he is talking about. He would have been playing at London 2012 had the funding not been cruelly pulled from the men’s beach game.
But his wife Shauna Mullin and English partner Zara Dampney made their mark in the women’s competition on Horse Guards Parade after impressing on the world circuit.
Scotland has shown it can produce – it just needs the facilities to enable the sport to take the next leap forward.
Miedzybrodzi and his partner Seain Cook, who won the European Championship Small Countries’ beach title in June, train at Portobello in the summer.
But the sport requires all-year-round training and they have to travel to Bournemouth for Britain’s only indoor facility in the winter months.
“I’ve been playing the sport for a long time and the frustration is starting to get to me,” he said.
“Why is it that we as a nation have to travel to train? All over Europe – in the likes of Holland, Switzerland and in Scandinavia – they put up indoor facilities which enable their athletes to train at home and develop the game.
“It becomes a sustainable sport for people to do and at the moment we don’t have that model here.
“If there are property owners out there who have access to a space – a warehouse or an existing building then let’s talk.
“We’re looking to go in, fill it with some sand and put one or two courts up and it would house the Scottish beach volleyball teams and we would set up a development centre for the sport in Scotland.
“I’ve been in everything from brand new facilities which have timber-arch structures that are purpose-built for beach.
“But there has also been old barns that have been converted and also old warehouses. Warehouses are ideal as you have the high ceilings. There are loads of different options.
“We are just looking at what buildings could we access. We’re not saying give us this for free – we’re expecting to have to invest in this.
“We’re at a stage where we want to invest in it rather than get a ‘freebie’.
“We could share a facility – maybe with beach football or a cross-fit gym or something like that. The two go hand-in-hand.
“It’s not just me and Seain, the Scottish girls are looking for a place as well.”