Alister Morgan on beach volleyball

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The Independent Online
Summertime in the capital has been known to offer jovial jaunts on the Thames and, occasionally, even searing sunshine, but its inhabitants can still be relied upon to head for those rare places that offer an intoxicating combination of sand and surf.

The continuing popularity of that little-known Olympic sport, beach volleyball, looks set to supply the capital's demand by promoting its own unique style of athleticism, and with it, plenty of sand. For two days, the beach stretches into the heart of London's Convent Garden... don't forget your bathing suit.

A massive 170 tons of sand is being imported from Wales to create an outdoor court in the East Piazza. Measuring 14m x 22, the courts will feature all the trappings of an international competition, boasting a sand depth of 30cms, a full PA system and floodlights.

British Olympians Audrey Cooper and Amanda Glover will be competing after their recent excursion to Atlanta, and they will be joined by another 16 professional competitors from around the globe for a winning purse of pounds 5,000.

The presence of a few tons of sand in the middle of London is undeniably a rare occurrence, so members of the public will be given the opportunity to compare their own skills and bathing costumes against those of the professionals. In addition to watching celebrities and professionals battle it out in the sand, spectators will also have the opportunity to join in the beach party as the professionals offer coaching tips on the basics.

Covent Garden Market, London WC2 from 10am Sat and 9am Sun, free