This month, Guam will become the second Oceania nation outside Australia to host a Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Volleyball World Tour event, following the path started by the Cook Islands earlier in the 2019-2020 season.
Guam will organize a women-only 1-Star World Tour Event from March 5-8, and professional players from around the world have made their way to Guam to compete in Guam’s first Olympic points qualifier event for women’s beach volleyball.
“Everything starts somewhere and we are excited to host our very first 1-star event here in our beautiful island that we call home. Visiting players will feel our island hospitality and enjoy our warm weather. I invite the public to join us in this historic event for Guam and our federation. I can’t thank Guam National Olympic Committee, Guam Visitors Bureau, ST Corporation, PIC and all our sponsors for all their support,” said Herman Ada, president of Guam Volleyball Federation (GVBF).
More than 22 teams are slated to battle it out on the sands of Jimmy Dee’s Paradise Beach Resort & Bar, starting this Thursday. Games start at 9 a.m. and continue until sunset.
International teams have already arrived and have been enjoying local attractions, as well as getting much needed sand time practice.
Countries represented include: Japan, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Israel and Canada as well as local athletes from Guam.
As host country, Guam enters four teams to the main draw tournament of 12 teams, and is allowed three more teams in the qualification tournament of 12 teams. All in all, Guam has seven teams experiencing high-level beach volleyball this week.
“This is a big win for our small federation. As a board, our agenda was to bring prestigious events such as these to our island. It’s great for tourism, but more importantly, it’s a great opportunity for our youth and adult players to have an opportunity to experience a high-level of competition without the expense of traveling and time away from work and family,” said Kaz Endo, GVBF vice president.
For Guam, the top-seeded team of Kendra Byrd and Kara Eugenio will take on the top-seeded teams from Japan, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in the ‘Main Draw’ tournament scheduled for March 7—8.
Alongside the team of Byrd and Eugenio in the main draw are three other local teams, including Tatiana Sablan and Austia Mendiola, Tylee Shepherd and Hallie Wigsten, and Jasmine Wenzel and Geneveive Ilao.
In addition to local players getting FIVB-level experience, others in the Guam volleyball community benefit as well. Tournament director Jon Cramer and tournament officiating host representative Chris Shepherd will gain valuable training and experience working with FIVB representative Blair Harrison, who is on island to oversee and provide guidance to the local federation.
“I’ve been assigned to help Guam for the next several years. My job is to get the local team here to a level where I’m no longer needed. Looking forward to a wonderful tournament,” said Harrison.
“We’re very eager to see how our players do against this type of competition. Win or lose, it’ll give them valuable experience on what more they need to work on, or get the confidence in what they are really good at. In addition, with the training FIVB is doing with teaching our local refs, score keepers, line judges and court maintenance crew, all of it will be great for the growth of this sport on our island,” said Shepherd.
For schedule and information visit guamvolleyball.org
(Information from a news release)