Top T&T men and women beach volleyball pairings, Daneil Williams and Fabien Whitfield, Ayana Dyette and Malika Davidson will serve off their 2016 Norceca Beach Volleyball Circuit campaign when they compete in Cayala City, Guatemala, from tomorrow until Sunday.
Both T&T teams will be using the tournament, the first of the season as part of their continued preparations for the Third Round of Norceca Continental Championship qualifiers to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this year.
The third round of the men qualifiers take place in St Lucia from May 26-30 and the women’s event is carded for El Salvador from May 12-16 and will involve the top teams from the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association/Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association second round qualifiers and the top Central American countries.
Williams and Whitfield left T&T yesterday along with Simon Blake and Christian Francois which comprised the T&T men’s team that ended second to US Virgin Islands in the Norceca Second Round Olympic qualifiers held at Castaway Beach, Antigua, in January and will be keen to add to their three bronze medals in tournament history.
Dyette and Davidson along with Apphia Glasgow and La Teisha Joseph combined to lead the T&T women’s team to the gold medal in their Norceca Second Round Olympic qualifiers at Ocho Rios, Jamaica, last month, and will also be out to make an impact in Guatemala where the new venue will be installed in Ciudad Cayala, the largest shopping, entertainment and housing complex in the city making it the first international sport competition to be staged there.
Overall, a total of 32 teams (16 men and 16 women) representing 17 countries will gather in the central American country which is the ninth time that Guatemala has hosted the most prestigious Beach Volleyball event in the region. Guatemala is celebrating its tenth edition, granting important ranking points for Pan American, World and Olympic qualifications and launching player’s successful careers.
T&T, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, St Lucia and US Virgin Islands have registered teams in both genders, while Guatemala and USA States have registered two duos per gender; Canada has two women teams.
Belize, Guadeloupe, Jamaica and St Kitts & Nevis will participate only in the men’s field and Antigua & Barbuda, Cuba and Honduras in women.
The last time that Guatemala hosted the event in 2014, Cuban Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez claimed the men’s gold defeating William Montgomery and Stafford Slick of United States in straight sets 21-17, 21-15; and Heather Hughes with Christal Engle of United States prevailed over Karen Cope and Natalia Alfaro of Costa Rica by 2-1 (21-14, 24-26, 15-0) in the women’s final.
This year, a record 18 beach volleyball are on scheduled to be hosted by Norceca with the T&T Volleyball Federation hosting the final leg, yet again from November 24-28, in Tobago.