T&T Women Soca Warriors will be boosted by the inclusion of four overseas based players when they meet Jamaica in the feature match of a Caribbean Football Union Women’s Olympic Qualifier semifinal at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, from 7 pm tonight.
Top local duo Fabien Whitfield and Daneil Williams will start as favourites to secure one of the two places available when the T&T Volleyball Federation stages its beach volleyball national team selection process for the second round of NORCECA Continental Olympic Qualifiers.
The local players will compete in three one-day tournaments, serving off today from 5.30 pm at the National Beach Volleyball Developmental Centre in Saith Park, Chaguanas, at the end of which the top two teams will earn tickets to St Lucia.
Last month, Whitfield and Williams claimed a second ever bronze medal finish on the NORCECA Tour when they placed third at the fifth stop of the Hickory Point Beach Sand Volleyball Complex in Tavares, Florida.
At the first round Caribbean Olympic Qualifiers which were held at Chaguanas, Whitfield and Williams won a “Golden Set” decider against Jamaica top pair of veteran Mark Lewis and Ryck Mc Kenzie 15-12, for a 2-1 T&T team victory.
Williams and Whitfield, who represented T&T at the Pan American Games, had earlier swept aside a visibly injured Donovan Richards and Christopher Walters 21-10, 21-15, for a 1-0 lead.
But Lewis/Mc Kenzie (Jamaica-A) kept alive their hopes of gold when they silenced Abraham Eccles and Tevin Joseph (TTO-B), 21-15, 21-13 to level the tie at 1-1 and set up the “Golden Set” where the host backed by a vociferous home crowd powered their way to victory.
Among the local women’s teams, Pan American Games participants, Ayana Dyette and Malika Davidson will start as favourites to earn tickets to Jamaica.
However, they will face a stern test from the pairs of Shenelle Gordon/Elki Phillip and Apphia Glasgow/La Teisha Joseph, all of whom represented T&T in the Caribbean first-round qualifier of the NORCECA Continental Cup Olympic Qualifiers which were held at Ocho Rios Bay, Jamaica, in May.
Back then the T&T women defeated their Barbadian opponents, 2-1 in their third place playoff via the “Golden Set”, with Glasgow and Joseph beating Shari Matthews and Anicia Wood, 16-14.
Jamaica, which defeated Cayman Islands in the final, along with fifth and sixth-placed finishers Suriname and US Virgin Islands, all earned spots in a second-round tournament of the qualifiers against the top six teams from the Eastern Caribbean zone.
Additionally all who are interested in becoming a beach volleyball coach are invited to attend a meeting at the same venue for 6 pm today.
•For further information, please contact Colin Charles @ 375-1227 or David Thomas @ 356-6792.
Athletes can’t be competitive in elite sport without some form of financial support.
Even though many athletes in T&T are amateur in that they don’t earn a living from their sport, their ambition to achieve excellence in their sport demands supreme effort.
The net result is training is full time. In fact it’s not only the athletes. Coaches, administrators and officials at the highest levels of competition are essentially full time.
Being professional in your approach to the various roles and responsibilities is a requirement. Taking extended leave from work in order to prepare for major competitions is more the rule than the exception.