Just what in the name of Gabby Reece is going on beneath the Pearl Tower this week? They’ve trucked in 300 tons of sand and dumped it at the base of our city’s signature structure — and no, it’s not for one of those God-awful “foam parties” (that doesn’t happen until Saturday). It’s not a giant ashtray either, although that no doubt would be quite popular considering the way Chinese tourists choke them down. Nope, this fake beach almost on the shores of the Huangpu is for the grandaddy of beach volleyball tournaments in all of China — the 2005 China National Beach Volleyball Championships — a marathon that began way back in April and included stops in seven Chinese cities, culminating with the Shanghai finals, which began Tuesday and end on Friday.
The national tournament was open to members of the China Volleyball Association, as well as those from Hong Kong, Macao and — curiously — abroad. Sixty-eight teams advanced to this final round, which is also a qualifier for the 10th China Games, coming this October in Jiangsu Province. ChinaSport2008.com has all the details (in Chinese only) if you are planning on heading out to see some of the action. And, why not? The weather is expected to be just great, as it always is during the summer in Shanghai. Play runs from 8:30 am-5:30 pm and 7 pm-9 pm daily. Tickets are a not-so-fan-friendly RMB 150 for day matches and RMB 200 at night. That price does not include the RMB 20 fee you have to pay to get into the Pearl Tower area that holds the courts. If you want to complain about any of this, here is the tourney hotline: 800-820-2426 (Chinese only, it seems).
A huge JPEG of the tournament poster
2005 China National Beach Volleyball Championships, final round. Tuesday-Friday at the Oriental Pearl Tower, 8:30 am-5:30 pm, 7 pm-9 pm daily. Tickets: RMB 150-200 (plus RMB 20 entrance fee). Tel: 800-820-2426.