Next stop: Costa Rica
A week break and then it is back to training for the national beach volleyball team, who fought hard to earn a spot in the final qualification round of the North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Sub Zonal Olympic Beach Volleyball Tournament.
The team of Mueller Petit, Renaldo Knowles, Prince Wilson and Byron Ferguson returned home, from the Cayman Islands where the second round of play was held, on Monday with the silver medal. Trinidad and Tobago won the gold medal and will be the top country advancing from the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA). The Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and host Cayman Islands rounded out the top five English-speaking Caribbean countries that will play against teams from the Association of Federations Central America Volleyball (AFECAVOL) in the third round. All 10 teams are in the hunt for a London Olympic Games berth.
This is the first time in the history of the sport The Bahamas has come this close to playing in the Olympic Games. The four-man squad will need to finish in the top five to advance to the final qualification round. Having already earned a spot in this final round of play are Cuba, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Either the United States of America (USA) or the Dominican Republic will be added as the fifth team.
No official date has been set for the hosting of the third round, but the four-man squad is making preparations for January or February. “We are now looking and preparing for Costa Rica,” said Petit. “So between now and the hosting of the tournament we need to do some work. Hard training to get our cardio level up. The technical work will come in, but for now we need to concentrate on getting the fitness level high.
“I know we need to go to one or two tournaments so we can be competitive. The teams or countries that we will be playing they will come ready, we can’t be caught off guard. This is a rare opportunity for us, the country and all of us want to succeed. We all want to qualify and I think that we can do it, we just need financial assistance.”
Petit said no executive from the Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF) has contacted them, since their return four days ago. This, said Petit has not discouraged the quartet who will continue to train at Nygard Cay.
The decision to take a week off from training was made after Petit and Knowles were injured in the golden set, against the Cayman Islands. Petit is nursing a shoulder injury while Knowles takes care of a sore wrist. Both Ferguson and Wilson were said to be in top shape.
Petit said: “I have yet to hear anything from the federation since we returned. We came back on Monday; it is Wednesday. But we are not worried because we didn’t hear anything from them until it was time for us to leave for Cayman Islands, last week. We know what is needed as players and what it will take to improve our individual games. So we will take this week off and starting next week we will start our training regiment again.
“Personally we haven’t decided or checked for other tournaments. I don’t know if the federation has planned anything for us, but I doubt they will because we did everything on our own the last time. We know we need to go to one or two tournaments before Costa Rica. But we are now looking into a team physician to take with us just in case we have injuries at this level. A physician was there but he was loaded and the personal attention was not there.”
The success on the beach and indoor, for senior men, has also shot the country up the regional ranking. The Bahamas is slated 13th in the region, the senior men have been pegged in the ninth spot and the women at 18.