JAMAICA Volleyball Association (JaVA) president Major Warrenton Dixon is pleased with the effort of players and persons close to the sport in helping to raise funds ahead of the regional championships in the US Virgin Islands.
The association is struggling to cover travel and accommodation expenses for the national male and female teams, along with the respective head coaches, Steve Davis and Gatasheu Bonner.
The teams are provided gear by local outfit Velle Sports International, and speaking at Wednesday's presentation at the Jamaica Olympic Association offices, Dixon credited those who have helped JaVA's cause.
"Velle has been a friend and I want to acknowledge their contribution. The players have done their part (in raising funds). I think that they were prepared to fight through the challenges and go out there to ensure they participate," Dixon told the Jamaica Observer.
The eight-member male squad, led by captain Dellan Brown, has been downsized from the usual number of 12 participants due to financial constraints.
They are scheduled to depart the island for the Caribbean Volleyball Championships today and are expected to return on July 22.
The army veteran remains positive amidst the obstacles.
"We expect good showings, though the lack of funding has had an impact on them. We try to speak to them and try to keep their mental focus in the right place. Their effort shows that their brain space is in the right place," said Dixon.
The female team, skippered by Shedeiky Barnes, is set to travel July 23-31.
Perennial champions Trinidad & Tobago are the overwhelming favourites to win the female category.
In the male competition, T&T are also the reigning champions, with Barbados and Bahamas likely to be their closest rivals.
Success at the Caribbean Championships paves the way for qualification to North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) competitions.
David Shirley, who is chairman and founder of Velle Sports, said that it is "fantastic" for his company to be associated with the national volleyball team as it seeks to continue making its mark on the local scene.
"It's fantastic, because to have the ability to take a brand and be able to marry it with the national team is really a great opportunity.
"When JaVA came knocking, saying that they need some support we jumped on it. Velle Sports International is a brand that is growing. We outfit a lot of the local football teams; the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup, so to be able to have the national volleyball team wearing our colours is massive," he said.
Squads: Women — Shedeiky Barnes (capt), Annie Lewis, Kai Wright, Sashalee Wallen, Khesia Miller, Tracy-Ann Findlay, Caffellon Fraser, Tsahai Williams, Joylene Thompson, Joelle Warring, Lecia Brown, Makini Thompson.
Men — Dellan Brown (capt), Conaradio Taylor, Alwayne Easy, Ryck Webb, Christopher Walters, Errol Smith, Mark Lewis, DJ Nelson.