The Edmond Sun

July 20, 2010

UCO event gave Edmond an economic boost

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Better than expected attendance, economic benefits, local hospitality and international exposure for Edmond were part of the 2010 Sitting Volleyball World Championship.

Players, coaches, other team personnel and various volleyball officials from around the world stayed in Edmond for more than a week, spending U.S. dollars at area hotels, restaurants and stores, giving the city an economic boost, said Cathy Williams White, director of the Edmond Convention and Visitors Bureau.

White was at Will Rogers World Airport Monday, ensuring the visitors had a smooth departure. Many of their bags were stuffed with locally bought items, she said.

Steve Kreidler, executive vice president at the University of Central Oklahoma, which partnered with U.S. Paralympics and USA Volleyball to put on the event, said numerous laptop computers were bought at local stores.

Stores that were especially popular with the guests included Academy Sports and Outdoors, and businesses located near the UCO campus also benefited, Kreidler said.

White said the event received a great deal of press coverage in other countries, giving Edmond overseas exposure. The guests were impressed with local hospitality, both Kreidler and White said.

“Every team departing is thrilled and experienced true Edmond hospitality,” White said.

Kreidler said local residents turned out to support the event in greater numbers than expected. Several sell-outs, including the gold medal matches, occurred. The event was also successful due to support from the many local volunteers, business sponsors, hard-working UCO staff and media coverage, Kreidler said.

UCO Wellness Center Director Mark Herrin said logistics, including feeding, housing and transporting athletes on sight seeing excursions to places like Quail Springs Mall, Bricktown and RedHawks games, went well.

“Overall, it was a tremendous success,” Herrin said.

Kreidler said observers were very impressed, and additional events could be coming to UCO sometime in the future.



TOURNAMENT RESULTS

The event culminated Sunday with medal presentations and closing ceremonies, capping more than a week of practice and competition on the UCO campus.

On Saturday, the U.S. women qualified for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and on Sunday they met China (7-0) for the women’s gold.

China won the gold medal match 25-18, 25-20, 25-15. The U.S. women won the silver medal and finished the tournament with a match record of 7-1, and a set record of 21-5.

United States men’s head coach Edgar Miraku will have to prepare his team for its next Paralympic qualifying opportunity at the 2011 Parapan American Games on Nov. 19-27 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The U.S. men finished in 10th place with a 3-4 record.

In other medal play, top-ranked Bosnia-Herzegovina (6-0) met second-ranked Iran (5-0) for the men’s gold. Iran had not lost a set in the tournament, while Bosnia had lost just once to Russia in their semi-final. Iran won 3-2 (25-17, 25-21, 18-25, 19-25, 15-11).

Representatives from the London 2012 Paralympic Games organizing committee have been in Edmond filming and interviewing players who will compete there.



marks@edmondsun.com
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