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The Isle of Man Has a Men's Beach Volleyball Team

10/05/2013 12:35 BST | Updated 10/07/2013 10:12 BST
AP

The Isle of Man has a Men's Beach Volley Ball Team. We know - you couldn't make it up.

In July 2013, the team, consisting of us, Dan Smith and Mike Travers, are off to Bermuda to take part in the 15th Natwest Island Games.

The island, upon which we both live, hosted the inaugural Island Games in 1985, from which they have grown to such a level of popularity that in Rhodes (2007) there were more than 3,000 athletes competing. That's more than attended the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

This year's competition is likely to be the largest one-off global sporting event taking place in 2013.

Each island competes in a minimum of 12 different sports, from football and judo to archery and athletics, via sailing and cycling and on to table tennis, swimming and squash.

Overall, Jersey leads the overall medal table, having won a total of 1203 medals since 1985. The Isle of Man is second with a total of 1029 medals. Guernsey, Gotland and the Faroe Islands are next.

We have both been training indoors so far, especially with the Isle of Man suffering its worst "snow event" for 50 years in recent months. Beach work has not been possible. Digging frozen sheep from hills and mountains has been a more readily available fitness regime.

We are travelling to Bournemouth for a practice tournament in early May. It will be the first time, as a pair, we will have played competitively in several years.

Dan represented the Isle of Man at the indoor form of the game in 1997, 1999 and 2001, while Mike played with various partners in Australian competitions while travelling. We are both part of the recently formed IOM VB Club, co-founded by Dan.

Some of the other islands likely to be taking part in the upcoming Games are territories more normally associated with beach volleyball - Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Rhodes, Menorca, Gotland. Closer to home, Jersey is sending representatives as are the Isle of Wight.

We'll let you know how we get on...