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.JaVa’s VISIONThe 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.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports has warned against “duplication of tickets” and expressed confidence in the Liberia National Police to handle the situation and ensure that match officials, players and fans are safe.The concern over congestion at the County Meet finals has been raised because the finals take place at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium with the capacity of about 8,000 fans.With a population of about four million and over one million in Montserrado County – of which thousands are followers of the County Meet – attendance is expected to be higher during the finals.Assistant Sports Minister Murvee Gray told journalists yesterday that the games would be played “under safety and tight security to avoid overflowing.”Minister Gray said “tickets would be printed” to avoid overcapacity, of which the Police have declared to help the Ministry ensure accountability.“We believe the County Meet will continue to provide the forum for players to learn their skills, discipline, and gain confidence,” he said.To prevent duplication, Minister Gray said tickets would be on sale as of today (Monday) and would be managed by the Ministry in collaboration with the major sponsor, Cellcom GSM.The quarter-final (second round) of the 2016/2017 County Sports Meet will kick off Tuesday, December 19, with kickball and football.At 11:00am, in the kickball, Margibi County faces Maryland County; and Grand Gedeh County Meets Montserrado County.In football, which begins at 2:00pm, Maryland County will lock horns with Montserrado County, and Grand Cape Mount County will rub shoulders with River Gee County.On Wednesday, December 21 – the second day of the quarter-finals – in kickball, Grand Bassa County will play Bong County; and the defending kickball champ will play host to Gbarpolu. And in the football, Lofa County will meet defending football champ, Grand Bassa County; and Nimba County faces Margibi County.Last Thursday, the Ministry of Youth and Sports staged a draw at the Sports Commission in Monrovia with eight teams in two groups.Members of Group A include Maryland, Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount and River Gee. Group B members are Lofa, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Nimba Counties.At the end of the quarter-finals on Friday, two teams will qualify from each zone for the semi-finals.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)