Belize hosts 6th Annual C.A. Beach Volleyball Tournament
Belize's hoop dreams of international glory may have crashed and burned against Mexico but this weekend our athletes will get a chance to restore national pride in competition that's just as intense. News Five's Janelle Chanona reports from the volleyball courts at Old Belize.
Janelle Chanona, Reporting
This morning, more than twenty international volleyball players arrived in Belize to participate in the sixth annual Central American Beach Volleyball Tournament.
John Majarrez, Head of Delegation, Belize
“There is pressure because of course we always want to win. However, I have full confidence in the athletes that are playing for Belize. The eight athletes that are playing are of the highest calibre and they surely will do their best and Belize is going to be very proud.”
The duty of defending the nation’s pride will fall to players like Caye Caulker’s Tiko Requeña and Belize City’s Sherilee Thurton.
Tiko Requeña, Team Belize
“You play beach volleyball da like playing basketball pan wah sponge court where you can’t jump because the court suck you down. And for the sport of volleyball you have to pretty much hit the ball almost every time. So it will be like a basketball player trying to dunk every single ball. We pretty much deh pan the same levels of these teams, da just which team execute best at the day. So we just got to go into the game with a good hype and good motivation and be ready to play the ball the right way. We practice so we should be doing good.”
Sherilee Thurton, Team Belize
“You have a lot of factors like the weather, the wind, the sun, the sand its pretty much more challenging than indoors. You have only two people covering that entire court. It is much more challenging.”
“Why do this sport then?”
“Because its fun. I’ve been doing it for years and I like it. And it’s been going well for me.”
Belize’s best performance in beach volleyball was more than a decade ago, when we won bronze in a similar tournament. This year, the teams to beat are the defending male and female champions of Costa Rica.
“Are you sizing up your competition in the room in there are you guys feeling confident?”
Melissa Armijo, Team Costa Rica
“Well we always have to respect the competition. We are here, well we will try to do our best, be confident about ourselves and that’s our plan.”
Regional officials are intent to take beach volleyball to the next level.
Jose Luis Jimenez, NORCECA
“We have to have more training. We have to have more competition during the years, play all the years, not only during summertime. You have to play tournaments every three, four months during the year and after that go to the competitions outside of Central America.”
Closer to home, the Belize Volleyball Association is keen to capitalize on those development plans.
Oscar Arnold, President, Belize Volleyball Association
“You have the beach, you have the sand, you have the sun and you have very great four athletes playing this sport as well. What this does for Belize is that we are also trying to develop Belize as a destination for international beach volleyball as well. The F.I.V.B. the world body is always looking for new places, exotic places to host their international high level tournaments and what we are trying to do is trying establish Belize in the region as the leading beach volleyball stop.”
Shelmadine Cacho, Team Belize
“For us we have only been playing for a while. It has probably been over three months that we’ve been practicing. So I think actually getting ourselves adapted to the situation, a beach, is definitely going to be our biggest challenge.”
“What are you looking forward to most?”
“I’m not certain, I’m just looking out for our Belizean fans to come out and support us.”
Reporting for News Five I am Janelle Chanona.
Official opening ceremonies for the beach volleyball competition starts at eight-thirty tomorrow morning at Old Belize at mile five and a half on the Western Highway. Finals are scheduled for Monday.