Vincy Volleyball- an emerging force
It is with some sense of certainty that the sport of volleyball is slowly carving out a pathway of command at the sub-regional level, namely – the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association (ECVA) region.
This recognition was underlined last Sunday night at the Laborie Indoor Facility in Grenada, when the SVG senior men’s team took the ECVA title.
It was the second year in succession that the Vincentians were returning from the tournament as victors.
However, this time it was sweeter, as they finished as the number one outfit among the six teams.
Too, beating St Lucia, the team which for many years has had the title deed to such tournaments, adds to the significance of the triumph.
Pouching the senior men’s title last Sunday, thus crowned off a good year for the sport.
It was male volleyball which was the lone discipline to return from this year’s Windward Islands Schools’ Games held in St Lucia, with an overall title.
Too, the pair of Micah Glasgow and Enrico Louraine, won the male category of the ECVA Beach Volleyball qualifiers held in Antigua and Barbuda, thus gaining a place to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), which were held in Argentina.
Glasgow and Louraine, therefore, repeated accomplishment attained in 2013, when Rodell Fraser and Delshun Welcome, qualified for YOG, the following year, in Nanjing, China.
The journey though, to this type of sustained achievement at the ECVA level, began in 2011, when SVG won the junior male title, and qualified for NORCECA inter-continental championships in Canada.
Then in 2015, St Vincent and the Grenadines took the ECVA youth male title, thus earning the team a berth at the NORCECA inter-continental championships in Colorado Springs, USA.
This team that made the Colorado Springs trip, is today, the core of the senior men’s team.
In the main, it was this set of players who in St Lucia last year gave St Vincent and the Grenadines senior men’s team its first dip at the NORCECA inter-continental championships.
It may not be a co-incidence that they repeated that feat, and again have booked a place to the championships, set for Cuba in 2019 as the ECVA representatives.
Critical to this unfolding success for volleyball is a recompense for investments in youths.
The planning that was done years ago is bearing fruit today for the volleyball here.
Unlike others in the ECVA region, who have been afraid to build with the youths, St Vincent and the Grenadines has gone in the other direction.
Volleyball therefore stands as that discipline which is becoming the sporting beacon for St Vincent and the Grenadines, at least at the sub–regional level, displacing our Under-23 netballers.
But those in charge cannot rest on their laurels and must continue to find ways to recruit young players, hence up the stock.
Despite making those baby steps and racking up some successes in tournaments, the sport is still not seen as one with that great public appeal.
So with the obvious indicators that volleyball is taking upward movement on the curve, this can be a bargaining chip for the policymakers and government agencies to take a fresh approach and support the sport in a more tangible way.
The promised land space for a Beach Volleyball court has to be reignited, now that there is evidence that there is potential in that aspect of the sport.
It is also pertinent that some efforts be made in providing a court facility for the people of North Central Windward, as this area is the catchment and bastion of the current crop of national players and those who are emerging.
The time is opportune for those in authority, not only to talk the talk, but to walk the walk.
Likewise, although accepted that there is an economic crunch that we are grappling with, efforts should be made by the private sector to assist volleyball.
Conversely, the executive of the SVG Volleyball Association, through its strategic plans, should fashion programmes to keep the sport on the front burner, as uneasy lies he who wears the crown.
Volleyball, is poised for a take-off, therefore, it should be all aboard, and be part of that flight.