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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 16, 2010

NCAA to include beach volleyball

Advertiser News Services

Beach volleyball survived as a potential NCAA sport yesterday despite more than half of the schools at the NCAA convention in Atlanta voting to spike the sexier, sandier version of the indoor game that is the second-most widely played women's college sport.

The vote to remove "sand volleyball" from the list of emerging sports for women they're calling it that to avoid scaring away the landlocked schools was 166-118 with one abstention; the 58 percent was short of the 62.5 percent necessary to kill the sport.

"This is an amazing day for volleyball and all of women's athletics," said Kerri Walsh, who played indoor volleyball at Stanford and won two Olympic gold medals on the beach. "NCAA sand volleyball will grow the game and give wonderful opportunities to young women. ... I'm thrilled to know the next generation of volleyball stars will have collegiate sand volleyball."

Kathy DeBoer, the executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, said play would likely begin in 2011-12 a year later than initially planned because much of the past year was spent debating the override. If enough schools add the program over the following 10 years, sand volleyball would become an official NCAA championship sport.



Top-seeded Serena Williams struggled in the Sydney International final yesterday in Australia, committing 40 unforced errors in a 6-3, 6-2 loss to fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia.

Williams also appeared to hurt her left knee during the match but later downplayed any suggestion of an injury. She said she still plans to play singles and doubles with her sister, Venus, at the Australian Open next week.

"I think she played well," Serena Williams said, "I made about a thousand and two unforced errors ... it's better now than later, I guess."

Earlier yesterday, former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis advanced to the final with a 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (5) victory over Mardy Fish of the U.S. Baghdatis will play Richard Gasquet, who beat French compatriot Julien Benneteau, 6-3, 7-5, in today's final.



The South African Olympic Committee says 800-meter world champion Caster Semenya cannot compete at home or abroad until the IAAF rules on her gender tests.

The committee released a statement yesterday following a week of conflicting reports about Semenya's possible return to the track.

South African Olympic committee president Gideon Sam says that "Caster Semenya is not eligible to run in any sanctioned meeting or race. The matter over the results of her gender test are still sitting with the international parent organization, the IAAF."

Semenya won the women's 800 at the world championships in Berlin in August. The International Association of Athletics Federations said hours before the race that it ordered gender tests.