Volleyball aims to piggyback 2012

Volleyball is set for an image makeover as the sport's UK marketers attempt to shed its bikini-clad-blonde image.

The English Volleyball Association (EVA) will stress players' athleticism and sporting prowess in a move to generate grassroots interest.

Its ultimate ambition is for the British Volleyball team to 'perform respectably' at the 2012 Olympics.

The EVA has hired Waterloo-based sports boutique ENS to boost youth participation in both codes of the sport - indoor and beach - in a contract sealed 'within minutes' of last week's news that London would host the 2012 sports-fest.

EVA marketing director Greg Brown said: 'There is a great opportunity to encourage participation in the run-up to 2012 and perhaps unearth a few Olympians.'

'Our immediate strategy is to demonstrate the sport's accessibility,' said ENS director Rebecca Hopkins.

Regional media will be targeted as the EVA looks to build the profile of 'local volleyball heroes'. At the 2012 Olympics volleyball will be one of several competitions for which the host country will gain automatic entry.

Around 15,000 Britons are estimated to play volleyball regularly.

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