Speid relishes success of youth
PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA), Rudolph Speid, says the success of the island's players at the CAZOVA Under-19 Championships on the weekend is the reward of a decision to invest in the sport's youngest.
"We decided to invest heavily in youth development," a pleased Speid told The Gleaner yesterday.
The Jamaicans dethroned Barbados to take home the title, becoming the first Jamaican team to win an international indoor volleyball title.
Jamaica's female volleyballers won the regional beach volleyball title in May.
"This is the best-prepared volleyball team to ever come out of Jamaica. We scouted these players five months ago. We did three weekend camps and, over the last three weeks, they have been in permanent camp," said Speid.
"We have natural athletes; we just need to harness the talent," he added.
The success of the teams was part of Speid's vision, which he and his team, that includes Tracy Findlay, Steve Davis and G.C. Foster College, embarked upon a year ago when he assumed the presidency.
"They are the ones who brought out the vision of JaVA," he said.
Part of the youth investment involves the primary-school competition, the formation of parish associations - seven have been formed so far - as well as the re-launch of the adult male and female Premier Leagues.
"We are decentralising the control of volleyball from the Corporate Area and spread it right across Jamaica. Some of these players are from right across Jamaica," he said.
"Our mandate was always to move volleyball from recreational to commercialise, professionalise and popularise ... that's our mantra what we are working on now, and that's how we approach things now," he said.
He noted that volleyball is played islandwide despite its low profile, and the plan was to start a church league.
"Sports administration is sport administration anywhere, and once you follow them, you get good results.
"With our natural athletes, the sky is the limit," Speid said.