Cayman volleyball is getting fresh props.
North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation President Cristobal Marte Hoffiz states the Cayman Islands were among the countries to make the 2014 Fédération Internationale de Volleyball World Championships Men’s First Round Qualifier its crowning achievement last year.
“We feel very proud about attaining this huge goal as 64 teams took part in the first phase of qualification tournaments,” Marte Hoffiz said. “That’s something we could not even imagine in the past.
“These tournaments left a valuable legacy in the hosting countries as we had the opportunity to organize workshops before the competitions and properly train the local people in the different aspects of running a volleyball event.”
Cayman hosted a leg of the qualifiers last October. North Side took centre stage as matches occurred at the new Clifton Hunter High School Sports Centre in Frank Sound.
Serving as a host nation for the first time ever, Cayman went 0-4 and missed out on this year’s second round of qualifying; which has 12 events with six competitions per gender. All three of the visiting countries, Aruba, Barbados and Suriname, would advance.
Representing Cayman were Shameel Javid Ali, Martin Bodden, Richard Campbell, Duncan Hamann, Cassim Fareed Hosein, Keeble Knight, Joebert Macasling, Ryan McGuire, Brian Purcell, Davison Ruwende and Olney ‘OT’ Thompson. Keith Higgins served as player/coach with Kennedy McGowan as team manager.
In all, 16 first-round tournaments were staged towards the 2014 FIVB World Championships, which will be held in Poland and Italy. More than US$700,000 were invested in the eight women’s and eight men’s events that took place in 15 different countries.
Aside from Cayman, the other host nations were British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Saint Martin, Grenada, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Suriname and the US Virgin Islands.
Marte Hoffiz states the qualifiers bode well ahead of this year’s competitions.
“Development across NORCECA is our main goal and I really believe we took a major step on that direction with our record number of tournaments last year. We are looking forward to an even greater success in 2013, with the support and leadership of FIVB president Ary Graça and all our national federations are anxious waiting for the season to kick off.”
Cayman is gearing up to host the 2013 NORCECA tour opener on 22-24 March at Grand Cayman’s Public Beach. It will be the fifth consecutive year the tournament has kicked off here. There is expected to be US$16,000 in prize money on offer.