Cayman’s top volleyball players are enjoying fresh corporate backing.
The Cayman Islands national men’s and women’s teams recently earned sponsorship from Waterman Watersports and Sand Angels. The companies have modest four-figure, one-year deals in place that will cover the players’ uniforms for international competitions.
Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation President Noel Williams states the sponsorship will help boost sports tourism efforts.
“It’s good that sponsors find interest in a game that is the second-most popular sport in the Olympics,” Williams said. “I’m glad we’re able to attract sponsors at a time when sports tourism is rising to the top as a champagne bubble of revenue stream for Cayman in a difficult world financial climate.
“The sponsors will be gratified that it’ll be a more well-known sport and the national team players will do them and the country proud.”
Waterman, located in Galleria Plaza, is backing the men’s beach volleyball team. Owner Blair Lilford will ensure players have sunglasses, shorts, caps and other apparel for their tournaments.
Sand Angels, a high-end leisure apparel store in Camana Bay, is supporting the women’s beach team. Owners Ian and Catherine Dawson-James will outfit the ladies with competition gear, training wear and official travel gear.
Both deals come into effect at the 2013 NatWest Island Games in Bermuda, which started last Saturday and continues on until Friday. Beach volleyball players representing Cayman include Richard Campbell, Philippe Deslandes, Fareed Hosein, Shervin Rankin and Olney Thompson (men) and Cristin Alexander and Jessica Wolfenden (women). Williams is also part of the contingent.
Interestingly, a large indoor volleyball squad will be present in Keith Higgins, Kennedy McGowan, Curtis Richards, Davison Ruwende (men) and Krista Ebanks, Miki Herrick, Stacy-Ann Kelly, Kristen Kuzyk, Anita Lansdell, Sarah-Joy Manoy, Deirdre McFarlane, Gina Powery, Ileann Powery, Chante Smith-Johnson (women). Kristina Bramwell will also be present as the physiotherapist.
In all, Cayman has 84 athletes taking part in 11 events. Athletics features a number of youngsters including Ashleigh Nalty and Alex Pascal, with swimming showcasing star talents like Lara Butler, Coral Tomascik and Brett and Shaune Fraser. Expectations are high for the Fraser brothers and Pascal to lead the medal hunt.
While athletics and swimming are standard pursuits for Cayman at the Island Games, some disciplines like gymnastics and sailboarding are being featured for the first time.
In addition to having one of the bigger squads, volleyball will be one of the few sports to provide Cayman with an official spectator in Kahlil Rankin-Cummings and a technical official in Hosein.
Carl Brown doubles as public relations officer for the volleyball federation and assistant general manager for Cayman’s Island Games contingent. He said spikers will do well with the added corporate backing.
“Sponsorship in the best of times is hard to secure in a small country as active and promising as Cayman is,” Brown said. “We’re grateful to Waterman and Sand Angels for seeing the bright stars and for their sponsorship, which is making that light brighter.”