North Side is set to play host to international volleyball.
The 2014 North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation World Championship Men’s First Round Qualifier takes place this weekend, 6-7 October.
Under the direction of the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation, Cayman serves as host for the first time. Making its debut on the local sports scene will be the new Clifton Hunter High School Sports Centre in Frank Sound.
Federation public relations officer Carl Brown states the North Side facility is world-class.
“This is the first time the Eastern districts are experiencing international volleyball,” Brown said. “It would be good for residents to take advantage and bring the youth out. It’s a good beginning to get involved in future world championships.
“We have a good history of hosting events. The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball has invested a lot in us and we have done so well they have every confidence that this will be a good event.
“After hearing from them, Cayman is one of the primary spots for hosting events. At the recent world congress, Cayman got accolades for hosting NORCECA events over the last couple of years. Cayman was used as an example of how they would like to see the events hosted.”
The school, which opened its doors to students this fall, is the new venue as the site shifted from the University College of the Cayman Islands to North Side. The sports centre is slated to rival that seen at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre, which recently hosted the volleyball federation’s national indoor league.
Four male Caribbean teams, representing Cayman, Aruba, Barbados and Suriname, will be competing for a spot at the World Championships in Poland in 2014. Only the top three teams advance to next year’s second qualification round.
Representing Cayman will be some 13 players including national team stars Richard Campbell and Olney ‘OT’ Thompson. Most are veterans with Davison Ruwende, the national junior coach, having participated in past indoor tournaments. Kennedy McGowan serves as team manager with Keith Higgins as head coach.
Residents can catch Cayman in action on Saturday at 9am against Suriname and at 8pm against Aruba. On Sunday, Cayman plays Barbados at 11am with the playoffs taking place at 6pm and 8pm.
Federation tournament director Fareed Hosein states the qualifier is a milestone for Cayman volleyball.
“We’re proud to host the event as it is another step in the process,” Hosein said. “Cayman can be an important stop not just for beach volleyball, but for indoor volleyball as well. We hope to host more of these in the future.”
Cayman is the 12th stop out of 15 and the sixth nation to stage male qualifiers. The next stops are in Curacao on 26-29 October and the Dominican Republic on 2-5 November.
Brown states residents have added incentive to check out the North Side action.
“The college had an occasion that was previously scheduled and Frank Sound is an awesome facility, built to international specifications. With hosting a qualifier, we get the opportunity to showcase the new facility, which looks good for Cayman.
“Admission is free and food concessions in the building are provided by the Clifton Hunter Parent Teacher Association. We are still in need of volunteers and they are asked to call Fareed at 925-4317 or Noel Williams at 916-2134.”