Rudolph Speid, president of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JAVA), has expressed delight at the association being selected to host the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Volleyball Championship in July this year. The president said the selection puts Jamaica one step closer to realising the association’s objective of popularising, professionalising, and commercialising the sport in the country.This will be the fourth time since last year that Jamaica has been selected to host an international volleyball tournament. In May 2015, Jamaica hosted the first round of the Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifiers in Ocho Rios and, in August, the CAZOVA Under-19 championships were held at the G.C. Foster College in St. Catherine. JAVA received high praise from CAZOVA for both tournaments. Jamaica has also been selected to host the second round of Olympic qualifiers at the end of the month, and now the Caribbean Championships. Speid believes these achievements will help boost the sport locally.”The volleyball community is ecstatic about being selected to host the Caribbean championships. The country has done a good job hosting two previous tournaments last year, and it will help to build the image of the sport,” he said.From July 7 to 17, 16 teams from across the region – eight male and eight female – will be competing for the respective titles, both held by Trinidad and Tobago. Due to the regional appeal, JAVA will be tasked with partnering with a Caribbean communications network to send pictures out to the region. “We have to get an event like this properly televised and reported on so that people here will start to identify with the sport and so that it can be seen as an alternative to other sports.”RAMP UP PREPARATIONSIt is only one of many things JAVA will have to get done to ensure a successful staging of the championships estimated to cost about J$20million. “We have to now ramp up preparations. The local organising committee will take over now and ensure that we get the relevant permits, meet with Major Desmon Brown at Independence Park Limited and, most important, take measures to ensure that the venue gets filled every night for the tournament.”They will also have to tie down an estimated 250 hotel rooms, possibly more, to accommodate the visiting teams and any visitor who might be travelling to see the tournament, an indicator, Speid says, on the potential impact the tournaments can have on sports tourism.CAZOVA has also promised to deliver an indoor court that will have to be in place by April. Agreements have already been reached to have the court installed at the National Arena.Meanwhile, JAVA will be out seeking sponsors to help fund the venture.”We have some national sponsors, but we will need to go beyond them. We have to put on a very good event,” Speid said.
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Panama’s president said a planned expansion of the Panama Canal would define the waterway’s “role in the 21st century” and on Monday called on voters to support a referendum to pay for the proposal. The expansion, to make way for huge new container ships that can carry twice as much cargo, is expected to cost $5.3 billion – in a country whose government budget is $6.5 billion a year. It will be put to voters in a referendum later this year. In a speech televised nationwide Monday evening, President Martin Torrijos said the expansion, approved by the board of directors of the Panama Canal, was “the most important decision about the canal and its role in the 21st century.” The biggest ships that can pass through the canal’s current locks are known as “Panamax” vessels and can carry 4,000 cargo containers. They barely fit in the locks, which are about 108 feet wide. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventThe project calls for the construction of a third set of locks of water chambers that will allow the large “Post-Panamax” class of cargo ships to use the 50-mile waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The president – whose father, Omar Torrijos, negotiated the 1979 treaty that eventually gave Panama total control over the canal – appealed to Panamanians to support the expansion. The government’s determination to widen the canal is fueled by fears that newer, larger ships will seek other routes between the Atlantic and the Pacific. “The Panama Canal route is facing competition,” Torrijos said. “If we do not meet the challenge to continue to give a competitive service other routes will emerge that will replace ours. It would be unforgivable to refuse to improve the capacity of the waterway.”