NORCECA tour gives us more chances

A bigger regional tournament can pay more dividends for Cayman’s volleyball players. 

The North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation recently announced its annual beach circuit will offer 17 stops in 2013, an increase from 11 in 2012. Prize money is expected to go up to US$16,000 per event. 

The Cayman Islands will once again have a prominent role, launching the tournament at Grand Cayman’s Public Beach on 20-25 March, 2013. For Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation public relations officer Carl Brown, locals can benefit from the event in many ways. 

“The experience, profile and performance of our national team has improved with each time we host,” Brown said. “Our international rankings have climbed with every hosting. In short order, the Cayman federation was declared best member volleyball federation in the NORCECA fraternity. 

“Our event is billed one of the best beach events in the world. President Noel Williams and vice president Kennedy McGowan were commended and accepted an award at the world congress held in California this summer. We are receiving training resources, logistic support and scholarship development for emerging talent.” 

Cayman has served as host for the last four consecutive years. In 2011, 40 teams stormed these shores and in 2012, Cayman upped that to some 42 squads. Every edition has grown in size as Cayman attracted 17 sides in its first year in 2009 and 24 clubs in 2010. 

This year, Cayman had a good showing as host nation as Shervin Rankin and Richard Campbell advanced to the quarterfinals. The other male tandems of Philippe Deslandes and Duncan Hamann along with Andrew Gordon and Olney Thompson were eliminated during group play. The lady pair of Jennifer Bily and Cristin Alexander were knocked out in the preliminary stages. 

Of the 2013 NORCECA tour’s 17 stops, Mexico will be called upon seven times. After Cayman, action is expected to shift to the Dominican Republic (27 March-1 April) and Guatemala (17-22 April). 

The Mexican cities involved are Tampico (1-6 May), Chiapas (8-13 May), Morelia (15-20 May), Toluca (5-10 June), Acapulco (12-17 June), Mazatlan (2-7 October) and Colima (9-14 October). 

From August to November, there are stops in Puerto Rico, Cuba, the US city of San Diego, St. Lucia, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago. The final venue is Aruba from 27 November to 2 December. 

NORCECA and the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball are also finalising a first-round calendar of 2013 Continental Cup games, qualifiers for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Cayman hosted a leg of the tournament this year. 

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