Cayman jumps up another notch

The reality lived up to the hype and
even brought Premier McKeeva Bush out to watch the finals.

Cayman’s volleyball fraternity did
themselves proud again following the second successful year of staging the
region’s biggest tournament.

Public Beach was heaving over the
weekend as the first in a series of 14 tournaments organised by North, Central
America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation launched the 2010 season.

The setting was perfect; three days
of great action, punctuated by an appreciative crowd, vibrant music, fun
distractions and glorious sunshine in a picturesque setting along Seven Mile
Beach.

The men’s competition was won by
Canada’s Martin Reader and Ray Sewell who defeated the popular Puerto Ricans
Orlando Irizarry and Joseph Gil. They won by scores of 21-17, 18-21 and 15-8.

In the women’s final, the Puerto
Rican pair of Yarleen Santiago and Dariam Acevedo beat their US counterparts
Brooke Langston and Heather Lowe 21-14 and 21-18.

All of Cayman’s four amateur teams
performed to the best of the abilities but matched against pros who play
full-time, they struggled.

Representing Cayman men were
Shervin Rankin and Olney ‘OT’ Thompson and in the second team Andrew Gordon and
Duncan Hamann.

The best women’s team were Wanda
Brenton and Jennifer Bily accompanied by newcomers Cristin Alexander and Tarasa
Barnett.

Noel Williams, president of the
Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation, was substantially backed by Carl Brenton,
Michelle Carter and Fareed Hosein.

Williams said: “It’s unbelievable
that this is only the second time we’ve hosted this tournament and how
successful it’s been again.

“We just need to keep getting
better because we want to do bigger and better things.

“Not only the NORCECA
representatives but also all of the players said how amazed they were about
coming here.

“They say that this is one of the
best or the best tournament that they’ve come to in a very long time. So we’re
working hard and it’s actually paying off.

“We’re not stopping until we get
the big one, the World Tour. That’s our aim and we just need to continue what
we’re doing. We have so much more to do to get that but this is a big start.

“I’m so thankful to all the people
who stood beside me, especially the main sponsors; the Department of Tourism,
First Caribbean bank, the Ministry of Sports and Cayman’s Olympic committee.
(The Caymanian Compass was also a sponsor).

“Our number one court was perfect.
What we need to do is take down a few cabanas. If we can take a few of them
down temporarily we can get the World Tour because it would give more space on
the beach.”

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The women’s final between Puerto Rico and USA was always closely fought.
Photo: Ron Shillingford
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