The Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground was the official venue of the beach volleyball matches for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. This is where China’s women’s beach volleyball team took home the silver and bronze medals. Even before the Olympics, the venue was used for the FIBV Beach Volleyball Women’s Challenger from August 13-14 in 2007. The Beach Volleyball Ground seats 12,000 people, with one competition ground, two warm-up grounds, and six training grounds.
Unlike the Bird’s Nest, The Beach Volleyball Ground enjoys a fairly busy post-Olympic life. The venue just hosted the 2012 FIBV match in May this year and differentiates itself by having been built specifically for beach volleyball games. By contrast, the Bird’s Nest is a non-specialized stadium that lends itself to a variety of events.
However, the Beach Volleyball Ground has its fair share of issues. The facilities are rusting, although probably not as critically as the bird’s nest. We spotted rust creeping out of a “decorative” hedged figure that Chaoyang Park kept as a memorabilia from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
In the summer of 2009, the 25,000sqm Olympic beach volleyball training ground was converted into a beach. The reported 17,000 tons of sand imported from Hainan was used to create a man-made beach that stretches for 15,000sqm along the lake in Chaoyang Park. Visitors must first pass through a large tree-lined lane to access the naked stretch of surf and sand. The sand is the most appealing feature. Three swimming pools are included, one of which is a shallow kiddie pool with childrens attractions and slides. There is also a shallow pool and standard competition pool. The swimming pools feature the same purification technology as the Water Cube, while the beach receives up to 3,000 visitors a day.
For beach volleyball enthusiasts, there are a few beach volleyball grounds available for a quick serve. For three seasons in a row, Chaoyang Park has hosted the Ocean Beach Fiesta (so named after all the glamorous sand). In summer 2010, the beach even hosted live viewings of FIFA. This year, the beach is open from June 16 to September 3. The “Olympic sand” at this beach is carefully taken care of. Workers clean the delicate sand daily after the beach closes and pick up anything that visitors leave behind. Two showers are installed on either side of the sand for “beach-goers” to wash off when needed.
Just in time for the 2012 London Summer Olympics, this post is part of a series called “Where Are They Now?”, which explores what became of four 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics venues: The Bird’s Nest, The Water Cube, the Beach Volleyball Ground at Chaoyang Park, and Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park. This is the third installment of the series.
Photos (in order of appearance): Sophie Zhu (1 and 2) and http://www.hbrzbj.org (3)