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Calypso Spikers fine tune for Japan
T&T senior women’s volleyball will fine-tune their preparations this weekend ahead of their departure for 24-team 2018 FIVB Women’s Championship which takes place in Japan from September 29 to October 20.
Captained by Renele Forde, the ‘Calypso Spikers’ ranked 34th in the world will compete in Pool against defending champion and world second-ranked USA, fifth-ranked Russia, South Korea (No 10), Thailand (No 16) and Azerbaijan (No 24) in Pool C at the 6,000 capacity seater Kobe Green Arena in Osaka Bay, Central Japan.
However, prior to competing at the sports’ second most prestigious event, behind the Olympic Games, the T&T women, reigning eight-time Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) champions will be received by the city of Hemiji in Japan, and its volleyball team Hemiji Victorina which is coached by the legendary former setter Yoshi Takeshita from September 21 to 26 for pre-tournament matches.
Contacted yesterday for an update on the team’s readiness for departure for Asia, team manager, Aaron Pollard said the final stage of getting the team ready in terms of uniforms and the printing of jerseys and numbers was actually being sorted out as he speaks.
“Our major concerns were with getting the monies from the Government to complete our registrations, visas, and plane tickets purchases, and this has been completed with the support of the Ministry of Sports to the tune of $450,000.
“So right now we are just working on some minor stuff like getting the uniforms sorted for each team member and securing some tokens to exchange with the respective teams we will be coming up against in Japan.”
With regards to the team’s remaining training schedule on home soil, Pollard stated the team was due to train at the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Tacarigua yesterday and will have another session today the Central Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Saith Park, Chaguanas from 2 pm to 5 pm today before facing the UWI men’s volleyball team on Monday night from 7 pm at the University of the West Indies Sports and Physical Educational Centre (UWI SPEC).
On Tuesday, the 17 member team will begin its departure for Japan, with four team members departing via Canada while on Wednesday, the remaining 13 players and officials will begin their journey to Japan.
Middle-blocker Sinead Jack, who left T&T last week to join her new Japanese club for pre-season training in Germany will join the team on arrival in the Asian country.
In addition to Forde, the core of players who qualified the team to Japan last year on home soil inclusive of Jalicia Ross-Kydd, Channon Thompson, Kelly-Anne Billingy, Sinead Jack, Darlene Ramdin, Afesha Olton, Latisha Morain, Krystle Esdelle and Kiune Fletcher have all retained their places in the 12-member squad.
The pair of Mikela Mc Gilvery and Afiya Alexander who were part of the team last October in qualify second from the NORCECA Group C series behind Mexico have been omitted with USA-based Delicia Pierre and Taija Thomas coming in to the team which made its FIVB World Grand Prix debut last year, a tournament now replaced by the Challenge Cup and Nations League.
The FIVB Women’s Championship competition will feature five teams from Asia (including the hosts), two from Africa, eight from Europe, two from South America and seven (including defending champions the USA) from the North, Central America and Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA).
T&T women’s team
Renele Forde, Delicia Pierre, Jalicia Ross-Kydd, Channon Thompson, Kelly-Ann Billingy, Sinead Jack, Darlene Ramdin, Taija Thomas, Afesha Olton, Latisha Morain, Krystle Esdelle, Kiune Fletcher.
Francisco Cruz (coach), Nicholson Drakes (assistant coach), Jarad Cuffie (assistant coach), Keva Stephens (trainer), Sean Morrison (media), Vaughn Martin (manager/head of delegation).
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