By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The territory will be among eight competing teams, when the BVI Volleyball Association fields its first U18 Women’s team at any level of competition in the 2nd Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) Championships in St. Maarten over the weekend.
“We are very proud of this accomplishment because it’s evidence of the fruits of our youth development program which we have been steady nurturing over the last few years,” BVI Volleyball Association president Sabina Clement said, nothing that as part of the program, they have brought in external expertise to train the PE teachers and coaches, various technical aspects of the game. All the players are 16 and under and it’s the first time they are fielding a team in this age category.
The tournament is a qualifier for the 2016 North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) zonal competition, with the top two teams advancing to the next stage.
Clement said through an Olympic Solidarity grant, administered by the BVI Olympic Committee, they have been able to retain the professional services of Jackie Weeks as the program coordinator. “She has been going into the schools on a weekly basis to teach the sport and identify talent among the youngsters,” Clement explained. “She has been teaching at all of the primary and secondary schools including Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke and in all primary and high schools through out the territory.”
The team, Clement said, has been preparing as a dedicated U18 unit for the last month, but a number of players have been working out consistently over the last few months since May, as part of their weekly training sessions.
“Our expectation at this stage is to get a foot in the door, to get their appetite wet and for them to have a feel of the competition,” she stated. “This is only the second year that the ECVA has put on this competition. There were four teams for the first one and there are eight teams this year. Although we know our team is well prepared and we expect them to do well, we don’t know what the competition is like aside from St. Lucia, which is the only team we know that have a strong team in place. So, we are simply hoping for the best.”
The team is comprised of: Shauliqua Fahie, Mya Walwyn, Taajah Skelton, T’Auna Alphonso, Dekoya Hodge, Shanique Robnison, Kyra Proffit, Xiomara “Gia” Malone, Joy Victor and Shelcy Hodge. Coach, Willis Potter.