Thu | Aug 17, 2017

CAZOVA champs will boost sport - Speid

Published:Sunday | January 10, 2016 | 1:00 AMLeighton Levy
Action from a match between Jamaica and Barbados at last year's CAZOVA Under-19 Volleyball Championships at G.C. Foster College, St Catherine.

Rudolph Speid, president of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JAVA), has expressed delight at the association being selected to host the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Volleyball Championship in July this year. The president said the selection puts Jamaica one step closer to realising the association's objective of popularising, professionalising, and commercialising the sport in the country.

This will be the fourth time since last year that Jamaica has been selected to host an international volleyball tournament. In May 2015, Jamaica hosted the first round of the Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifiers in Ocho Rios and, in August, the CAZOVA Under-19 championships were held at the G.C. Foster College in St. Catherine. JAVA received high praise from CAZOVA for both tournaments. Jamaica has also been selected to host the second round of Olympic qualifiers at the end of the month, and now the Caribbean Championships. Speid believes these achievements will help boost the sport locally.

"The volleyball community is ecstatic about being selected to host the Caribbean championships. The country has done a good job hosting two previous tournaments last year, and it will help to build the image of the sport," he said.

From July 7 to 17, 16 teams from across the region - eight male and eight female - will be competing for the respective titles, both held by Trinidad and Tobago. Due to the regional appeal, JAVA will be tasked with partnering with a Caribbean communications network to send pictures out to the region. "We have to get an event like this properly televised and reported on so that people here will start to identify with the sport and so that it can be seen as an alternative to other sports."

RAMP UP PREPARATIONS

It is only one of many things JAVA will have to get done to ensure a successful staging of the championships estimated to cost about J$20million. "We have to now ramp up preparations. The local organising committee will take over now and ensure that we get the relevant permits, meet with Major Desmon Brown at Independence Park Limited and, most important, take measures to ensure that the venue gets filled every night for the tournament."

They will also have to tie down an estimated 250 hotel rooms, possibly more, to accommodate the visiting teams and any visitor who might be travelling to see the tournament, an indicator, Speid says, on the potential impact the tournaments can have on sports tourism.

CAZOVA has also promised to deliver an indoor court that will have to be in place by April. Agreements have already been reached to have the court installed at the National Arena.

Meanwhile, JAVA will be out seeking sponsors to help fund the venture.

"We have some national sponsors, but we will need to go beyond them. We have to put on a very good event," Speid said.