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Las Vegas is hosting a beach volleyball open for the first time: You can watch Olympic contenders for free

Las Vegas is hosting a beach volleyball open for the first time: You can watch Olympic contenders for free
Three-time Olympic gold winner Kerri Walsh Jennings will compete in the Las Vegas Open beach volleyball tournament, which begins Thursday. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Why ship 3,600 tons of sand to Las Vegas? High-quality sand, not Mojave Desert grains, is needed to create courts for the city’s first Las Vegas Open beach volleyball competition, which begins Thursday.

Team USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings, winner of three Olympic gold medals, leads the list of elite athletes who will be competing from Thursday through Sunday.

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Visitors can watch four days of action for free at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. Jennings and others will be competing to earn ranking points needed to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Other participating female athletes include Brazil’s Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado; and Canada’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson.

Team USA players Miles Evans (left) and William Kolinske (at net) will compete in Las Vegas Open.
Team USA players Miles Evans (left) and William Kolinske (at net) will compete in Las Vegas Open. (p1440)

In the men’s category: Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sørum, and Spain’s Pablo Herrera Allepuz and Adrián Gavira.

All are among top five International Volleyball Federations rankings.

Activities start at 9 a.m. each day until 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Visitors can hone their skills at the Movement Shop, one of the fitness activities during the Las Vegas beach volleyball open.
Visitors can hone their skills at the Movement Shop, one of the fitness activities during the Las Vegas beach volleyball open. (p1440)

The Las Vegas Open also brings a health and wellness village that will offer fitness training, healthy cooking demonstrations, and sessions on meditation and yoga. Family-friendly activities include DJs, dancing, face-painting and food trucks.

General admission is free, but visitors are urged to RSVP.

VIP tickets start at $50 a day and include seating at center court bleachers, catered food, non-alcoholic beverages and access to air-conditioned restrooms.

One hitch: There’s no public parking at the grounds. Public transit options include the Deuce bus ($6 to $8) or the Las Vegas Monorail ($5 one way).

The new beach volleyball series called p1440 is co-founded by Walsh Jennings in partnership with the International Volleyball Federation.

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