Beach volleyball venues in short supply
BEACH VOLLEYBALL and Jamaica seem to be a natural match but not every beach has the space to host tournaments. That’s the challenge the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA) is working to overcome as it seeks to spread this version of the sport.
The regulation size of a beach volleyball court is 16 metres by 8 metres and JaVA President Jacqueline Cowan says her team is scouting the island for suitable venues.
“One of the problems that we have for beach is the lack of venues,” she explained. “The fact is, we have to be able to put down our courts, especially when we’re hosting. We have to be able to put down at least two courts, preferably three, and it is really difficult to do that,” she said.
With the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education and Sport as a training base, Jamaica’s men and women won the right to play in the second round of qualifying for the 2024 Olympics.
“When we look at coming outside of Kingston, especially on the north coast, the beaches are really not suitable because you don’t have the room. You have beaches but they’re not conducive to put down a court, and that is the issue that we really have.”
JaVA has been scouting locations to serve as potential beach volleyball venues and found one at Puerto Seco Beach in the parish of St Ann and came close to hosting a tournament there.
“When we travel, we travel with the court so we can put it down to see exactly if we can use it. Like, the tournament we were going to host was going to be at Puerto Seco Beach and we were able to put down two courts, but we had to cancel that tournament because of (scheduling) conflicts,” she reported.
“That is one venue that we have identified that we can use.”
The search for suitable beach volleyball venues continues into 2023 and dovetails with one of JaVA’s objectives for the New Year: the start of a school beach volleyball competition.
“Our senior programme does well. We’re not so good on the youth side and [that’s] something we want to concentrate on,” said the president.
Coached by Gatasheu Bonner, the Jamaican teams went to the Dominican Republic locale of Punta Plata last month and earned themselves a place in the second round of Olympic qualifying which is set for this December.
The men’s team was Mark Blake and O’Wayne Lawrence, and the ladies were Petal Smith and Chauna Kelly.