SEPTEMBER 12 - ST CHAD'S HEADLAND in Blackpool was today the host for the Nestea European Tour English Masters, one of the biggest and most prestigious beach volleyball events ever to be staged in Britain.


It is the first time the Nestea European Tour has held a round in this country and the  competition is being hosted by VisitBlackpool and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).


It is part of the £3.5 million NWDA is investing to support a programme of leading events in Blackpool as part of its commitment to the resort’s ongoing regeneration.

The three-day tournament will take place on six specially built courts - which required 1,200 tonnes of sand to be shipped in to build - complete with 2,000 seat stand and floodlights.

With a prize fund of 100,000 Euros (£79,209) and Olympic qualifying points on offer, Britain’s top men and women will be hoping to compete with Europe’s best, with the finals to be played this Sunday.

Almost 100 of the top teams from across Europe, including 16 pairings who have recently returned from representing their countries at the Olympics in Beijing, are taking part.

The Olympic contingent includes Beijing quarter finalists David Klemperer and Eric Koreng from Germany and Florian Gosch and Alexander Horst of Austria, in the men’s draw.

Austrian sisters Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger also head to Blackpool after reaching the quarter finals of the women’s draw in Beijing.

It is the second major beach volleyball event to be staged in Britain following last weekend's SWATCH FIVB Junior World Championships, which were held in Brighton.

English Volleyball Association President, Richard Callicott: “We are absolutely delighted that Blackpool is to stage this prestigious event.

"To have England included in the annual European tour sends a very positive message to the international volleyball community in the run up to the London Olympic Games in 2012."

Admission to the event, which resumes again tomorrow at 9am, is free.