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Jamaica to host volleyball tournament in July

Published:Wednesday | January 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMLeighton Levy
file photos Rudolph Speid

Jamaica is to host a male youth volleyball tournament in July and is to be what Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA) President Rudolph Speid expects will be the first of many, as he initiates plans to propel the sport forward in Jamaica.

Volleyball is said to be the second most watched sport in the world behind football, but in Jamaica it is nowhere close to that standing. Speid said he intends to change that. The tournament, which is expected to attract seven teams from the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CASOVA), will be played from July 2-5 at the Dr Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology in Papine, St Andrew.

"That would be for the Caribbean Championships," Speid said. "It's actually a CASOVA event, so teams will apply through CASOVA and then we will be told how many teams will be coming."

The president said he was expecting eight teams overall to compete, including Jamaica as hosts.

"We expect to have more than 100 participants, plus spectators visiting," he said, adding that it will be another boost to the country's interest as a sports tourism destination.

Speid said it is his intention to make tournaments like these a feature of Jamaica's volleyball and ties in with longer-term plans to make the country a hub for beach volleyball. The foundation for that objective is already being laid with a local beach volleyball competition being considered.

First, however, the platform must be laid by the creation of parish associations. On January 17, an interim board of the St James Volleyball Association was commissioned. It marked the start of the process of establishing parish associations across the island. Speid revealed that associations are to be established in St Thomas, Hanover, St Elizabeth and Westmoreland by July this year. Once established, the associations will be tasked with increasing participation in the sport at the primary-school level and establish U-15 and U-17 competitions that will allow continued participation by students once they leave primary school. The associations will also be asked to generate sources for revenue within their respective parishes.

As part of the development process, each parish will also be asked to stage beach volleyball tournaments that will give rise to a national beach volleyball competition.

"Each parish will host a tournament or two that will be accredited by JaVA. Teams will get points in each tournament they play. The eight highest point earners for both male and female teams will play in a grand finals," he said.

"That is the way we are going to find the champion beach volleyball teams in Jamaica each year."