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Aegina Xmas beach contest

- by Jeremy Guest

Aegina is noted for its beach volleyball events.

They may have just celebrated Christmas but one Greek island is already taking to the sands for a sporting holiday break. Players will be taking part in a beach volleyball tournament between Christmas and New Year to compete in the Aegina Xmas Cup Beach Volley contest. The tournament is open to amateur and professional athletes, sport enthusiasts and all who enjoy the sport.

It started in 1990 when a group of friends started the beach volleyball tournament in Aegina and requested approval from the official body.

It meant a lot of work for organisers who has to draw up draft notices, regulations, programmes and so on, to update the Municipality of Aegina, the Port Authority, the referees before they could even get started.

They raised money locally to cover the costs of medals, prints, tickets and ran two tournaments, one for men and another for women.

And this was the days before the Internet was available to everyone and neither were helpful modern devices like laptops and mobile phones.

They had an old Bulgarian typewriter to print out notices and used Aegina island's only fax machine located in the island post office.

They eventually found a sponsor who also offered free ice cream while the Aegina Town mayor loaned two staff to help plan the event on Aura Beach.

Local hotels offered discounts for athletes while local taverna owners offered food . Since then the competition has grown to be a major event in the Greek sporting calendar.

Aegina is noted for its beach volleyball with an annual three-day event – The Aegina Masters Beach Volley Tournament held in the summer months.

For three days and nights, top Greek athletes compete in beach volleyball matches during the day while at night island clubs entertain the crowds.

The Masters Beach Volleyball circuit is now part of the Pan-Hellenic championship promoting this growing summer sport.

In 2013 Aegina decided to hold the Aegina Masters Beach Volleyball tournament in the Village of Perdika in June to mark the opening of the summer tourist season.