From coast to Cathedral: Christchurch square covered with sand for beach volleyball tournament

There is an unusual sight in central Christchurch, with Cathedral Square coated in sand in preparation for a beach volleyball tournament this weekend.

The Christchurch Super Slam, part of the New Zealand Beach Tour, begins Friday and features athletes vying for selection at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Audience size, distance and wind meant Ōtautahi's beaches could not be a venue, and instead 240 tonnes of sand have been moved into Cathedral Square this morning in time for the event.

Christchurch teammates Mel Vannort and Liz Hanna said they were looking forward to competing in the unique event.

"This is the one event we've been looking forward to and training towards," Vannort said.

"It's been our goal this season even to qualify [for this event].

"Something like this doesn't happen everyday, especially in Christchurch," Hanna said.

"Pretty pumped to be at a different venue than just on the beach and maybe protect [us] from a bit of wind."

Of course, like many sporting events around the country this week, there are concerns about the ability of some athletes to travel to Christchurch due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Beach Tour organiser Dave Miller said there were a few athletes in Auckland who were expected to compete and the latest lockdown in the country's largest city had meant "a little bit of extra work and concern".

Likewise, Vannort said it would be "really disappointing" if those athletes from Tāmaki Makaurau were unable to make it.

"Everyone's been working and training really hard this season, especially to be able to play at the Christchurch Super Slam," she said.


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