Thanks to its regional success, Cayman beach volleyball gets to be part of the Olympic qualification process.
The North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation recently confirmed the Cayman Islands will host a stage of its 2014 Continental Cup tournament, which serves as a qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The first round of the competition takes place in Cayman July 25-27 and features Group A for the women and Group H for the men.
Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation president Noel Williams, who sits on the NORCECA Beach Commission, said those matches are coming here due to last year’s performances.
“The Cayman men and women topped the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association zone, which has other Caribbean countries,” Williams said. “It was easier to get to hold the tournament because of that ranking. The tournament will be a zone qualifier for countries in our region.
“This is big time for Cayman, it’s a road to the Olympics for us. The home crowd is very important and this is an opportunity where our country can move on to qualify.”
Cayman is coming off a good showing in the 2013 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit. Last year, the female tandem of Cristin Alexander and Jessica Wolfenden finished tied for eighth in the final standings. Local men. such as Richard Campbell and Duncan Hamann, were 16th out of 24 countries.
The Continental Cup is one of two major tournaments in which Cayman will be involved this year. Cayman hosts a leg of the 2014 NORCECA beach circuit April 25-28 and will be one of 16 countries taking part at the XXII Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico in November.
Cayman is one of more than 20 stops for the Continental Cup. Matches are taking place around the region from Cuba to Trinidad between June and July. Central American countries like Nicaragua are also involved along with the North American powerhouses Canada, Mexico and the United States.
NORCECA president Cristobal Marte Hoffiz says the games will make beach volleyball more popular.
“We are pleased and, at the same time, very proud to announce that the 40 national federations and territories of NORCECA, that is 100 percent of our membership, will be participating in the event,” Hoffiz said. “Those tournaments, without any doubts, will generate a lot of attention and will contribute to enhance the popularity of beach volleyball in our continent.”