Atlanta '96: Women poised for quick sand debut

SPORT-BY-SPORT GUIDE No 9: Beach volleyball
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The Independent Online
People have been hitting balls over nets on beaches for decades, but beach volleyball took off in earnest with tournaments in California in the early Eighties.

The sport is making its Olympic debut in Atlanta and differs from its indoor counterpart in that each team has just two players.

The court size is the same as for indoor volleyball (nine metres x nine metres on each side of the net), as is the height of the net (2.24m). The first team to score 15 points wins the match, and the teams change ends every five points. There is only one game per match in the Olympics.

In tactical terms, the players need to be expert all-rounders to cope with the demands of each having to cover a much larger area of the court.

Britain will be represented this summer by the pairing of Audrey Cooper and Amanda Glover in the women's event. They will be one of 18 teams from 13 countries taking part, and will be ranked 12th.

The Brazilians are currently ranked No 1 in the world, and will be sending two teams to compete in the women's event, while the Americans will be represented by three women's teams. These five will share the position of favourites.

GREAT BRITAIN: A Cooper and A Glover.