Beach volleyball in uncertain Comm future

Sold-out crowds. A close, thrilling competition. Great television scenery. Wonderful athletes: Sounds great! See you again in four years, right?

Wrong.

Beach volleyball was a tremendous success in its Commonwealth Games debut on the Gold Coast, rocking the temporary stadium at Coolangatta Beach and providing the young viewers multi-sport events like this crave.

But it could be a one-off, with no guarantee that Birmingham 2022 organisers will have it on the program.

Beach volleyball is one of 20 non-compulsory sports that any host city can choose to compliment the 10 compulsory Commonwealth Games sports.

Birmingham officials have been asked about the situation during these Games, but have repeatedly refused to confirm the sport's future inclusion.

This has not gone unnoticed by the players, who have vowed to fight for inclusion.

Australia's Damien Schumann - who won the men's gold medal on the Gold Coast with partner Chris McHugh - pointed to the use of Horse Guards Parade as a temporary venue for beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympics.

"It was so successful in the London Olympics. Every single session here has been sold out and the quality of the matches (has been great)," Schumann said.

"The level of competition in the Commonwealth is amazing. I'm very biased but there is something about a beach volleyball stadium that is just pumping with the DJs and the whole atmosphere and they'd be crazy not to (include it)."

Beach volleyball is a confirmed Olympic sport and the Tokyo Games are just over two years away, which is good news for Australia's women's team.

Australia will be looking to carry on its tradition of success in women's beach volleyball at the Games, which began with Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst in Sydney.

25-year-old Taliqua Clancy and 24-year-old Mariafe Artacho del Solar will be coming right into the peak of their careers by the time of the Olympics.

They went down to World No.1 team Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Peredis in the gold medal match by the narrowest of margins, but the Canadians know they will meet again on the big stage.

"We thrive in this environment. Melissa was so solid. Australia really gave us a battle," Pavan said.

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