Spikers will serve for our youth

Youth development is expected to get a boost in local volleyball.

The Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation is hosting its inaugural Big Dig Beach Volleyball Tournament at 2 p.m. Saturday at Royal Palms.

Federation funding and sponsorship committee member Carlene Alexander-Kay said the goal of the competition is to encourage talented youngsters.

“We had our AGM this week and the main thing now is sending two youth players to Trinidad for the youth Olympic qualifiers,” Alexander-Kay said. “Chante Smith-Johnson and Ileann Powery are training right now for that. They’re training for it with Cristin Alexander and Jessica Wolfenden, our senior girls.

“In general, beach volleyball is a natural fit for Cayman. You just need a ball and a net. The Sunday league has been popular and volleyball, on the whole, is a popular and inexpensive sport in Cayman.”

The four-man tournament, which is modeled after similar events in the U.S., offers a variety of prizes, including Cayman Airways tickets. Teams are encouraged to compete in costume. Registration is ongoing, though teams will be allowed to sign up Saturday from 1-1:45 p.m. with matches slated to begin at 2 p.m.

If the action was not hot enough, there will be an after-party at Royal Palms featuring local DJs such as DJ Renato and Xixgon. A raffle will take place throughout the day, and purchasing a $10 ticket will guarantee a prize ranging in value from $25 to $600.

Carl Brown serves as the federation’s public relations officer and said there are hopes to take Cayman’s young players to great heights.

“Our youth development program plans to bring in 25 youngsters into national exposure in the next year and a half,” Brown said. “We’ll be doing so through summer and community programs and Fédération Internationale de Volleyball coaching. When we had the North Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation Beach Volleyball Circuit come down last time, pros from Canada and the U.S. gave clinics to youngsters over two days.

“We’re trying to extract every opportunity for resources and expertise. We run a fairly lean machine. We do a lot with the little we have. With that being said, we’re thankful for our supporters. We’re in gratitude to government and the Department of Tourism for the sponsorship they provide. We thank our mother body, the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee. Cayman Airways has been a pillar of our operations along with many other sponsors over the years.”