Beach volleyball courts open in mountainous town(山あいの町で「ビーチバレー」)

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Athletes play on a court that opened in Tadami, Fukushima Prefecture.(オープンしたコートで白熱した試合を繰り広げる選手)

 Tadami, Fukushima Prefecture, is a mountainous town that does not face the sea. Yet despite its location, the opening of four beach volleyball courts on July 9 signals the town's intent to become a hub for the sport in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
 The Tadami government built the Sand Volley Court, which is reminiscent of a beach, on land it owns in the Kameoka area. It is the only permanent beach volleyball facility in the prefecture, and the town aims to host national championship events and be a training site for countries participating in the 2020 Games.

 海のない山あいの町に浜辺を想像させるビーチバレーボールコートが誕生した。只見町が同町亀岡の町有地に整備を進めてきた「サンドバレー(ビーチバレー)コート」が9日、オープンした。県内唯一の常設コートで、町は2020年東京五輪のビーチバレーボール競技の事前合宿や全国規模の大会の誘致を目指す。

 Beach volleyball has been attracting attention because of its selection as an official event for the Tokyo Olympics. It has also featured in recent national athletic meets.
 Beach volleyball courts are built during the summer months in the Hamadori area of Fukushima Prefecture, according to the Fukushima prefectural beach volleyball federation, but there were previously no permanent courts in the prefecture.
 The Tadami government started promoting the construction of Sand Volley Court last summer, and believes a permanent facility will attract countries participating in the Games to the town to train beforehand, the plan that could vitalize the area.

 ビーチバレーボールは東京五輪や近年の国体の正式種目に採用されるなど注目が高まっている。県ビーチバレーボール連盟によると、県内では浜通りに夏場限定で特設コートが設けられるが、常設コートはない。町は地域活性化につながる東京五輪事前合宿などの誘致で優位になるとみて、昨年夏から整備を進めてきた。

 The four courts at Sand Volley Court each measure 16 meters by eight meters and are available for official competitions.
 The sand on the courts was taken from an area above Taki Dam in the Tadamigawa river. Construction costs came to about ¥15.2 million.

 コートは4面備え、各面とも16メートル×8メートルの広さで公式戦に対応できる。コートの砂は只見川の滝ダム上流に堆積していた砂を活用した。整備費は約1520万円。

 An exhibition volleyball match featuring top Japanese players took place during the opening-day celebrations. Local residents and others enjoyed the high-level game.

 同日はコートのオープンを記念し、国内トップクラスのビーチバレーボール選手によるエキシビションマッチが行われ、町民らがレベルの高い試合の観戦を楽しんだ。

 Hiroshi Ogawa, the president of the federation, expects the sport to become popular in the prefecture.
 "We've improved the environment so beach volleyball practice can be held from spring to autumn," Ogawa said.
 "The federation also wants to use the courts for training camps to develop athletes who can perform well at national-level championships."

( Translated by The Japan News )

  同連盟の小川宏会長(52)は「春から秋にかけて練習できる環境が整い、連盟としても合宿などで活用したい。全国で活躍できる選手の育成につながる」と競技の振興を期待した。

 【 2017年7月10日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】