This country’s men and women’s beach volleyball teams will begin their historic quest to be the first national teams to qualify for the Olympic Games when they compete in their respective first round of the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) 2016 Rio Olympics Beach Volleyball Qualifiers.

The T&T Volleyball Federation will play host to the 28-team (two pairs of two per country) men’s qualifiers at the National Development Centre, Saith Park, Chaguanas from May 8-10 at the end of which the top four teams will advance to the second round of qualifiers which will involve the top four teams from the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association first round qualifiers as well.

This was stated by Mushtaque Mohammed, president of CAZOVA at the official launch of the T&T Volleyball Federation’s hosting of the first round of men’s qualifiers at the T&T Olympic Committee Office, Abercombry Street, yesterday.

Mushtaque Mohammed, president of CAZOVA and the appointed tournament director for the tournament at Saith Park, said that being a national of T&T he was happy to state that FIVB, NORCEA and the regional body was happy to provide all the necessary support of the T&TVF to put on a tremendous tournament.

Mohammed noted T&T has managed to qualified beach volleyball teams to the Central American and Caribbean Games in the past, the upcoming Pan American Games in Canada and also at the World Championship youth level for, and the lone missing tournament and most prestigious was the Olympic Games.

He added, “I believe the beach volleyballers can be the first team sport to qualify for the Olympic Games from T&T, however, it’s not going to be easy, because the road gets much more difficult as you progress to the other rounds.

“So as a national of T&T, you will have my support and that of the international body, but no favours will be guaranteed,” Mohammed stressed.

Daymian Stewart, president T&TVF explained the reason for hosting the event was to create a greater awareness of the fastest growing sport in the world, in addition to giving the local teams a good boost and in keeping with the Government’s objectives to develop sport tourism, promote our unique culture, empower our human resources and support the positive talents of the youth.

With regards to qualification for the fourth and final stage of the qualifiers which will involve the top teams in the entire NORCEA Confederation, Daymian Stewart, president T&TVF said the local teams possess six of the seven key elements to get the job done.

However, Stewart noted what was now needed was the support for the athletes which needed to be address urgently.

In another T&TOC President, Brian Lewis applauded the T&TV for the direction it has taken in developing the sport and its effort to generate revenue.

Lewis said, “We need to be creative and market sport in T&T in different ways, and the T&TVF has to be commended for their efforts because qualifying for an Olympic Games is absolutely important if you are serious about elite sport, whether your are a top  athlete, manager or official.”

With respect to the hosting of the event, Lewis urged the local federation to do all in its power to make home advantage be of benefit to the T&T team.

“When your are hosting its a very serious thing and its done to make a difference to your team and this is something we need to change else it makes no sense if we are not 150 per cent about it”

In this regard, Lewis urged volleyball followers and locals to come out in full support for the team.

The round one women’s qualifying takes place first in Ocho Rios Bay Beach, Jamaica, April 30 to May 5 with the 28-teams (two pairs of two per country) competing for four spots to the next round of qualifiers.

Participating countries and teams to date

Aruba: Elmerlindo Robles De Medina, Dwayne Angela, Fransua Angela, Michaello Martilia

Barbados: Daran Gill, Sheldon Roach, Winston Gittens, Elwyn Oxley.

Bahamas: Renaldo Knowles, Mullet Petit, Princtanique Wilson, Byron Ferguson

Bonaire: Not yet submitted

Cayman Islands:  Kirk Shervin Rankin, Richard Campbell, Olney Thompson, Phillippe Des Landes

Curacao: Derwin Colina, Quinten Anthony, Norandy Bonafasia, Kiran Ersilia

Guadeloupe: Arnouts Baptiste, Lavoye Cedric, Guillaume Coudevylle, Loic Couchy

Haiti: Senel Volvick Dupuy, Alexis Marco, Fritz-Emmanuel Mabou, Kempes Vilmot

Jamaica: Mark Lewis, Donovan Larry Richards, Ryck Mc Kenzie-Webb, Christopher Walters

Martinique: Lopes Jefferson, Lowinsky Edouard, Africa Freddy, Lienafa Derek

Suriname: Not Yet submitted

T&T: Fabien Whitfield, Daneil Williams, Tevin Joseph, Josiah Eccles

T&T women team:

La Teisha Joseph, Apphia Glasgow, Elki Phillip, Shenelle Gordon