Cayman’s male beach volleyball players now have added help.
Monster Nutrition is providing dietary supplements for most of the local squad competing in this month’s North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation tournament opener. In particular the sponsorship is for Shervin Rankin, Olney Thompson, Richard Campbell and veteran Glen Daykin.
Thompson, 44, has starred for Cayman on the international stage and states the sponsorship is a good sign of the sport’s growth.
“More sponsors are now seeing beach volleyball as more of a family sport,” Thompson said. “It’s about bringing locals together. With this month’s event, residents are seeing volleyball at an Olympic level or close to it for free.”
Thompson is among eight local spikers gearing up for the NORCECA event next weekend, 23-25 March. The Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation is expecting 43 squads representing 16 countries such as the US, Canada and Mexico on Grand Cayman’s Public Beach. Storming the beach for Cayman will be Thompson and Andrew Gordon, Campbell and Rankin, Duncan Hamann and Philippe Deslandes with Jennifer ‘JB’ Bily and Cristin Alexander the lone female tandem.
Cayman has hosted the NORCECA series opener the last four years. In 2011 a record 40 teams stormed these shores, eight better than the previous NORCECA mark. Every edition has seen more squads take part as Cayman attracted 17 squads in its first year in 2009 and 24 sides in 2010.
Campbell, 27, states the Monster Nutrition sponsorship is special in that it involves a fellow young Caymanian.
“It’s a terrific way to get a young local’s business up and going,” Campbell said. “The only other competition is GNC, which is a corporate company. I’m honoured, privileged and glad he’s helping us so that we can help him at the same time.”
News of this month’s event comes after Cayman’s national teams (featuring Alexander, Bily, Taylor Burrowes, Campbell, Deslandes, Stefania Gandolfi, Rankin and Thompson) recently advanced to the NORCECA Continental Cup semi-finals (a 2012 Olympic qualifier) in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Recently, Cayman was also named the best host country of beach volleyball over the past two years by NORCECA and the International Volleyball Federation.
Monster Nutrition owner Jason Smith, 25, has a sporting connection himself. In the past, he was involved in bodybuilding and jet ski racing. Smith, whose business is located on Compass Drive in the Reliable Industries building (a company owned by his mum Sharon Smith), states backing beach volleyball is about helping out his countrymen.
“I’m very happy to do it as they are close friends of mine previously,” Smith said. “The brand is growing with new clients and products, we’re developing our website to include online shopping and we are looking for new ways of sponsorship and marketing with different teams and leagues.
“As I said, I’m very happy to sponsor the local guys, especially those guys since they are friends as well. I want to do more sports, once it has the athletic clientele I’m looking for and raise public awareness of the business. We’ve been open for a few years and people don’t know where we are. We know we are super competitive, the prices are super competitive and the products sell themselves.”