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Sep 23, 2016

Belize Hosts Regional Volleyball Qualifiers

The jewel is preparing to host an international volleyball competition. It’s a first for the local volleyball association which is putting its best foot forward in terms of logistics as well to compete. The local team will be competing against teams from the region but the highly anticipated game will be against Guatemala. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

As early as Thursday morning, the male volleyball teams from all Central American countries, except Costa Rica and including the Dominican Republic, arrived in the country for the Men’s World Championship Qualification Tournament of the International Volleyball Federation. The games are historic since it is the first time that the international volleyball tournament is being hosted in Belize. The top two teams of this major sport event will qualify to the continental round from which the top five teams will advance to the world championship to be held in Italy and Bulgaria later this year.

 

Allan Sharp, President, Belize Volleyball Association

“We were informed by the FIVB late last year that we were to host. Obviously it is a very big budget, over two hundred thousand dollars and so that kinda put us on guard and so we try to see if we can exchange the event—go with a more economic event like beach volleyball—but we were told no. That Belize does not host, we keep not hosting and we must host. And they put in some penalties; they said we would be not allowed to play for two years internationally, lose some benefits. So they said we do that or else and so this is where we are at. We are having it at the new Saint Catherine’s Gym…it’s the newest, most beautiful gym in the country. Thanks to St. Catherine’s, we managed to work something out to have the competition there. it was very important because the international body has certain regulations, which you must meet and we managed to work it out with them.”

 

The seven-day tournament begins on Saturday afternoon at the St. Catherine Academy newly built Gymnasium with three matches per day.

 

Allan Sharp

Allan Sharp

“We just came off the Olympics to see world volleyball and it is now in Belize at the men’s level; this is a very high level competition—one of the highest level sporting events ever to come to country.  A total of seven countries playing over seven days, twenty-one matches, three matches per day so it is high level sport in Belize right here.”

 

Today, we caught up with Team Belize during their practice time. The youngest member of the team is sixteen years old and the oldest is Police Constable Ean Galvez, a thirty-seven year old volleyball athlete that has been playing the sport for Belize since 2000. Seven members of the final twelve-member team have participated at junior level. Most recently, in May, the team won the Copa Cancun 2016 Tournament in Mexico under the assistance of Cuban coach, Delio Arruebarrena. Team Captain, Karym Coleman says they have been training since February.

 

Karym Coleman

Karym Coleman, Captain, Team Belize

“I think we are exactly where we wanted to be in terms of preparations and now in the workout, you are seeing great cohesion and that only comes from time and building some chemistry together. So we are going in this pretty confident. Our first game is against Salvador at seven-thirty p.m. We feel that we are going to beat them.”

 

Duane Moody

“Now it is going to be a round robin kinda game; whoever has the most wins at the end of the tournament is going to advance. Looking at the competition that you guys have, which one is the most anticipated game in terms of the formidable teams that you guys expect to face?”

 

Karym Coleman

“Well we all know the most anticipated match for any Belizean is the one against Guatemala that is going to be on Sunday. But with all that said, we are actually looking forward to seeing the Dominican Republic team; they’re one that we’ve never seen before. We’ve played against all the others, but this one is new to us since they came out of the Caribbean and we are just usually Central American games. But come out and watch that Guatemala game because it should be exciting.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Team Belize plays the seven-thirty game every day starting on Saturday. The players take a break on Thursday and then have a final match next Friday. Entrance to the games is ten dollars for adults and five dollars for children twelve and under. 

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