The other variety of the sport is Beach Volleyball. This involves only two players to make up a team. While we boast of having beaches we have not yet reached the point where we have a facility adequately developed for this component of the sport. Actually there was a time when the Kingstown Medical College had constructed a beach volleyball facility on site but this has long since been overrun by grass.
The work of the Cubans in respect of volleyball would therefore be a most challenging one in the face of the inadequacy of the existing facilities.
While the Cubans have not by any means been disgraced in swimming their performances have not been exactly earth shattering either. Still, their performances have been sufficiently credible for them to be able to teach our athletes something. Here again, however, they would be confronted with woefully inadequate facilities. Perhaps we should say they would be confronted with no facilities.
The botched attempt at establishing a swimming pool at Shrewsbury House reflects the extent to which there is no real commitment to the sport in the state. This means, too, that the Cuban coaches would have to use the sea, much like everyone else. There are several difficulties attendant to this, not the least of which is the fact that they must steer clear of the highly polluted waters on parts of the country’s southern and south western coast.
Many of our sports leaders are anxious to see what measures the government would put in place to ensure that the Cuban coaches are not being invited on a holiday or to waste time in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Many are waiting to see whether the boxing association would suddenly cease to have problems acquiring adequate training facilities. Others are keen on seeing whether the government would move swiftly, on the advice of the Cubans, to construct an appropriate indoor facility that would enable volleyballers to compete favourably with their regional and international counterparts and whether they would also gain access to a beach volleyball facility.
Some would want to see the swimming association allowed access to a pool that could be used to develop the skills of the athletes enough to facilitate their genuine development.
There may well be reason enough for many involved in sports in St Vincent and the Grenadines to watch closely the reaction of the government to the work and recommendations of the Cuban coaches, if and when they do come here. One would suggest that given the government’s relations with Cuba there is a greater likelihood that their recommendations in respect of the competitions to which the various sports associations should send national representative teams would more readily be taken on board and the requisite funding duly provided. Should this turn out to be the case then the other associations would find themselves either capitulating, lying prostrate before the government, something the latter would readily relish, or stand firm on principle and develop their respective sports as they have been doing in the past.