Jamaica celebrates successful U-13 event


MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, April 15, 2013 - St Thomas and St James went away with the bragging rights and gold medals in the girls and boys section, respectively, of the first JaVA National U-13 Inter-Parish Volleyball Competition held at Herbert Morrison High School in Montego Bay on Saturday 13 April 2013.


Interestingly, St Thomas, who topped the preliminary round of the competition by defeating all their opponents except Westmoreland, turned the tables in the finals against Westmoreland, winning 21-12, 21-16.


On the boys’ side, although Westmoreland displayed some attractive volleyball skills for their age, as it was in the preliminary round so it was in the finals. Westmoreland topped the preliminary round defeating all their opponents except St James and when both team met again in the finals and St James proved themselves to be no fluke by coming out straight sets winners, 21-13, 21-20.


The competition realized the first opportunity for the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA) to examine the girls and boys playing in separate competitions at this age. Both the JaVA Primary-level schools competition and the National U-13 Parish Training Centres are conducted as unisex activities.


Steve Davis, JaVA's National U-13 Programme Coordinator, expressed satisfaction with the quality of play displayed in the respective categories.


"It was very good to see our girls in particular showing that they are able to grasp the skills being taught to them and to play competitive matches," Davis stated.


He further revealed that there were twice as many boys enrolled in the Programme. "We have seen the boys in the school competition stepped up and compete. Although there were girls in the said competition they were usually overshadowed by the boys. We therefore decided to separate them and encouraged the girls to make a good account of themselves. I am very pleased with what I saw," Davis concluded.


JaVA is currently negotiating to have teams visit Jamaica from overseas in order to further expose the children to quasi-international competitions at an early age.


"I've seen several of our technically competent athletes wilt under the pressure of international competition," stated Major Warrenton Dixon, President of the Jamaica Volleyball Association. "While we are building their technical competence we desire to start building mental toughness in them from now. We have no intention to wait until we believe they can beat a visiting team before we start; we want to do this concurrently.


“We are hoping that corporate Jamaica will lend some much needed support to this and other initiatives we are undertaking to increase the quality, reach and popularity of volleyball and beach volleyball in Jamaica," he concluded.