Trinbago 2023 Sport Focus - Beach Volleyball

June 29, 2023

With just over a month to go until the Opening Ceremony of the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago, the countdown has begun and the excitement is starting to build. Over the final few weeks until Team Scotland head out to Trinidad and Tobago, we will be taking a further look into each of our seven sports being represented at the Youth Games and chatting with the athletes competing.

Our first ‘Sport Focus’ of these Youth Games will be on Beach Volleyball, with Team Scotland being represented in the Women’s competition.

Meet Iona Bell and Sasha Clegg-Mckeown, who have been selected to represent Team Scotland in the Women’s Beach Volleyball at this summer’s 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago.

We spoke with Iona, 16, and Sasha, 14, ahead of the Team Camp, and they spoke of their excitement to represent their country on the world stage and how they want to encourage others to try out the sport:

Ahead of them heading out to Trinidad and Tobago we asked Iona and Sasha to tell us more about their sport and being selected for the Games:

Congratulations on becoming part of Team Scotland, what are you most looking forward to about the Youth Games? 

Iona: I’m very excited to represent my country at such a big event and in such a cool location. It’s definitely a huge honour and it will be great to be among so many talented athletes within Team Scotland. 

Sasha: I’m most looking forward to representing the whole of my country for the very first time on the beach and at such a young age.

Can you tell us what the biggest difference, as a player, is between Volleyball and Beach Volleyball?

Iona: Beach Volleyball is definitely more physically demanding than indoor as there are only two players to cover the whole court and playing on sand is tough. I also tend to play setter on indoor, so I enjoy getting more opportunities to attack on the beach.

Sasha: For me the difference between indoor and Beach Volleyball is that in Beach Volleyball you have to be very smart at your offence and tenacious and skilful at defence (one have to be a really smart and well-rounded player), when in Indoor Volleyball it’s more about power shots and being good at one or two specific skills. 

Tell us an interesting fact about your sport that people may not know?

Iona: On average players jump 300 times in a Beach Volleyball game.

Sasha: Beach Volleyball players use secret signal to communicate with each other and unlike in Indoor Volleyball you can’t have substitutions in Beach Volleyball.

What would you say to people, particularly young people, to try and get them involved in Beach Volleyball?

Iona: I definitely think it’s worth giving a go. I won’t lie it’s not for everyone and you have to be willing to brave some grim weather and deal with the tough physical demand of the sport. However, of all the sports I’ve tried it’s definitely the most fun. It’s great to get outdoors in the summer and let off some steam.

Sasha: If you are full of energy and love running about, then Beach Volleyball is made for people like you. You even get to whack the ball as hard as you can, play as a team with your friends and keep fit. It’s a great fun game that everyone should try! 

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