Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Deadline for entries to Sandblast Volleyball extended

Published:Saturday | September 30, 2023 | 12:09 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
O’Neil Ebanks
O’Neil Ebanks

The deadline for entries to the first Sandblast Beach Volleyball tournament has been extended from October 1 to October 7. That’s the word from tournament organiser O’Neil Ebanks.

The event, which is being staged by Ebanks’ New Levels Volleyball Academy, is set for October 14 at the G.C. Foster College Sand Courts in Spanish Town. Six male teams and six female teams have already entered.

“I’m going for a maximum of 10 teams per gender. Part of the reason is because it’s one day. I may have lights. I may not have lights. I don’t want it to run too far down in the day. So I’m trying to cap it at 10 teams per gender,” said Ebanks, who is coach of the successful Wolmer’s Girls’ programme.

Fans will see some of Jamaica’s best players in action.

“So, some of the names we’re seeing are most of our national players. There is Rick Webb who is playing, as well as Mark Blake, who is a national player as well. We have the junior beach volleyball representatives who have registered to play as well, both on the male and the female part of it,” the coach said.

“I have extended the deadline for registration from October 1 to October 7 to give some more time for persons who may not have seen or heard. So I’m looking at that extension to close off the other few spaces that we have,” Ebanks added.

Teams hoping to compete in the tournament are being asked to contact the organisers at newlevelsjamaica@gmail.com

The Sandblast will fill a void in the local volleyball competition schedule.

“I don’t think we have been playing enough beach volleyball in Jamaica, because, most times, especially when the national players are playing, it’s when we go overseas, we get some good competition. Also I believe that we need to have more beach volleyball being played here, and one of the ways to do that is to hold tournaments, and through my academy, New Levels Volleyball Academy, I decided, ‘you know what? I’m going to put on a tournament, do a little investment in terms of beach volleyball and let’s see if I can have this as a mainstay on the competition calendar each year’. So I decided to push this one to benefit not just the sport of volleyball, but also for the benefit of the beach national players to get some court time and some competition prior to going into other competitions, and so on, because it’s best when you play at the highest level in your country instead of just training, because scrimmage in training is different from playing against other teams elsewhere,” Ebanks contended.

Queried about the name he chose for the inaugural tournament, Ebanks replied, “It will be a blast in terms of the entertainment and the games that are being played.”

The event is set to begin at 9 a.m. on October 14.