Cartagena targets junior talent

The Cayman Islands was recently graced with a top regional volleyball figure.

Juan Cartagena was in Cayman last week leading a youth clinic at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre. He is a North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation instructor.

A native of Puerto Rico, Cartagena sees Cayman being able to translate junior potential into senior success.

“This year, Cayman was my seventh stop,” Cartagena said. “All islands are different and the level here is good. I will try to move the island in one direction as beach volleyball is the most popular here.

“I want to see more happening indoors. In the mens section, the probability of winning is good. The women need more practice, more experience and more time to gel.

“The junior women talent is good. With beach, the women continue to put in work. The men, such as Philippe Deslandes and Duncan Hamann, continue to practice and the men are much better this time. Shervin Rankin and Richard Campbell are a good team, especially if Shervin comes into an event healthy.”

Cartagena has been to Cayman twice this year, arriving here for the first time in February. At that time, he led a youth clinic at the University College of the Cayman Islands and spoke about volleyball’s future in Cayman and the sport being rooted in local schools and using a grassroots movement.

Put on by the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation, the Camana Bay sessions targeted kids aged 10-18. Youngsters like April Ebanks focused on fundamentals such as serving, footwork and blocking. The clinic, sponsored by Butterfield and Camana Bay, included a golfing fundraiser to raise further funds for the volleyball federation.

From here, the federation will focus on sending 12 kids, 10 of which are female, to a youth volleyball camp in Madawaska, Canada on 25 August-2 September.

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