Youngsters from Arsenal’s Premier League 4 Sport programme were given a unique opportunity to sample a new sport in July, when they were invited to participate in London’s first-ever PL4S Beach Volleyball Tournament.

Volleyball was one of the four original sports on the PL4S programme, which aims to promote and encourage young people's involvement in Olympic sports as part of London 2012’s legacy. This was the first occasion, however, that participants had been given the chance to try their hand at the outdoor version of the sport.

The 4-a-side competition, which was held at the Score Centre in Leyton – one of the new London GoSpike Beach Hubs, funded by Volleyball England – saw 14 teams come together to take part in the event which also featured teams from Leyton Orient, Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.

In what proved to be a highly competitive day of action, Arsenal’s girls’ team, which was made up from three different schools, won all of their matches to emerge triumphant, while the boys’ team missed out to eventual winners, West Ham.

The young participants were given a taste of what it would be like to compete for glory at the London 2012 Olympic Games with the court at the Score Centre using sand from one of the recent test events at Horseguards Parade.

Speaking about the day, Arsenal’s Premier League 4 Sport Coordinator, Ross McKinley said: “It was a really good day and the volleyball on show was of a very high standard, especially considering it was the first time many of the participants had played on sand. My personal highlight was seeing the spirit in which the event was played and how well the teams integrated.”

Louise Kessell, Portsmouth FC PL4S Coordinator, added: “I’d like to express a big thank you to Arsenal for organising the event and Leyton Orient FC for hosting the tournament. The boys that represented Portsmouth had a fantastic day and it is something that will live with them for a long time. As newcomers to the sport, this tournament was a massive learning experience for the boys - both on and off the court, as most of them have social, emotional and learning difficulties and had not been to London before.

"However, they put up a spirited fight against teams of players with a lot more volleyball experience than them and showed great sportsmanship in all their games. They really were a true credit to their school, Portsmouth Football Club and the Premier League 4 Sport programme and we are really looking forward to the next competition."

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20 Jul 2012