Permanent beach volleyball court bid at Portobello

Portobello has hosted beach volleyball competitions before. Picture: Neil Hanna
Portobello has hosted beach volleyball competitions before. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Ambitious plans have been launched to create ­Scotland’s first permanent beach volleyball courts in ­blustery Portobello.

Temporary courts currently on the beach are only used by teams, but new fixed facilities would be available to the ­community as a whole.

The plans – backed by Scottish Volleyball Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club – are part of a move to develop the sport at a grassroots level.

World-class players such as Shauna Mullin started their careers in the Capital, but had to move to countries with ­better training facilities.

Shauna, who represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, said that a permanent venue would “raise the profile of the sport” and encourage future champions.

She said: “If people see ­others playing, they might be captivated by the sport. That’s how I got involved.

“I saw it and thought I would like it. Right now, unless you know someone who plays beach volleyball, it’s difficult to know how to get involved.

“This also gives people already playing a permanent base and a place to train when they want. That’s a fantastic opportunity and something that’s going to improve the level of the sport in Scotland.”

Warrender Park and Leith Links Bowling Club are also possible sites for the £50,000 project, but Portobello is the “preferred option”. The courts would be funded by grants from groups such as Sportscotland and would be based either on the beach itself or on nearby Straiton Place Park.

Lynne Beattie, regional development officer for Scottish Volleyball, said the project would create “new and ­quality opportunities for young people”.

She said: “Currently only experienced players with ­volleyball equipment can play, this is only a select few. This means the sport is not accessible to the local community.

“It is not the experienced players we are solely looking to cater for, it is the local schools and local community, ­encouraging new people to play our amazing sport.”

Permanent courts would have fixed rather than portable nets and would have a 50cm sand surface that would be ­easier to play on.

Graham Riddle, founder of Edinburgh Beach Volleyball Club, said that portable nets never stayed at fixed height and sagged in the middle.

He also said that the present courts suffered from an “unlevel surface”.

Martyn Johnstone, of ­Scottish Volleyball, said that players currently have to dig the courts but a permanent facility would allow people to just turn up and play.

“This would make it easier to get people interested in the sport,” he added.

An international beach ­volleyball tournament and qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympics was held at ­Portobello last summer.