Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Jamaica eyes beach volleyball at C’wealth Games

Published:Tuesday | September 28, 2021 | 12:09 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Jackie Cowan, President of the Jamaica Volleyball Association
Jackie Cowan, President of the Jamaica Volleyball Association

Jacqueline Cowan, president of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA), hopes that the nation will be represented in beach volleyball at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

Cowan believes it is possible that despite a COVID-19-enforced hiatus on the game since last year, Jamaica could qualify based on its regional ranking.

“Next year is Commonwealth Games and since countries who have moved on to the next level have gone by ranking, we’re hoping our beach team will be able to get to the Commonwealth Games next year based on ranking,” the JaVA president projected in a wide-ranging discussion on the state of the game in Jamaica.

Jamaica is the Caribbean’s number four ranked team in beach volleyball.

In the meantime, JaVa is biding its time as it seeks permission to resume training and competition.

“One of the things that have hindered us, and apart from getting our protocols approved, is that there has been no regional competition. So it’s not that we can say we are training to participate in this tournament or that championships, whether indoor or beach,” said Cowan, who also serves the region as secretary general for the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA).

She supports the concept of a sportsman’s COVID passport in broad terms.

“At the end of the day, we have to keep people safe, and we have to take responsibility for our own actions,” she said. “So if that is what it takes to be able to start and to be able to compete, I don’t think I’d have a difficulty with that.

“In terms of the local situation, because we do not have our own venue, we have to rely on others. So the protocols that we put in place really have to be approved not just for the return of the sport, but for the return of the venue,” she explained.

There may well be light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re waiting for the approval from ODPEM (Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management), and we have contacted the respective health departments to get their approval so we can get a no-objection letter. We can actually start doing something locally because as it is right now, there’s going to be nothing on the calendar for the rest of the year on a regional basis,” Cowan reported.

That would be a relief.

“It has been difficult because, of course, everybody wants to go back on the court. Some have actually been doing their own type of training, and national coaches have been in contact with their players, whether it be local or overseas, to try keeping them active,” she signalled.

During the COVID-enforced break, JaVA’s focus has shifted to training for coaches, referees, and administrators.

“But at the end of the day, there’s no substitute for getting back on the court, and that is our ultimate goal - to get back on the court,” the JaVa president concluded.

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