Volleyball standard raised

Normal, Weekender

The National, Friday 18th November 2011

OVER 800 players and officials took part in this year’s 2011 Digicel National Open and Under 21 Volleyball Championships.
Games were played in six locations, Taurama Leisure Centre (TLC), Kirakira Village, Vabukori Village, Tatana Village, Murray Barracks and the Gerehu Recreation Facility.
A workforce of 80 technical officials also coordinated the matches supported by Vabukori Amateur Volleyball Association (VAVA), NCDVA, Fairfax and Tatana Araira Volleyball Association (TAVA).
The National Capital District Commission came  on board with funding for the championships which mainly went  towards the use of equipment, venue hire, transport, meals for officials and other association costs during the five-day tournament.
It was certainly the first of its kind to host the championships in different venues.
The advantage of that was the promotion of the games but the disadvantage was it placed too much stress in terms of logistics for some of the hosting associations.
The standard of game has gone up as unknown volleyball associations like Koiari were very competitive giving something for the more established associations to think about.
The PNG Volleyball Federation president Turaho Morea during the presentation ceremony on Tuesday at TLC took a swipe at the Sports Foundation CEO Iamo Launa for not allowing the volleyball finals to be staged at the Sir John Guise Indoor complex.
“EMTV were ready to broadcast live the 2011 national volleyball championships but that did not eventuate because of the negative response.
“The TLC facility could not allow EMTV to do a live broadcast and I appeal to those concern to next time consider making venues available because broadcasting live matches is one way of promoting the code and lobbying support for the sport also.
Meanwhile NCDC Social Services Manager Kila Dick encouraged the players to give something back to the sport of volleyball.
“Rugby league is the greatest sport, soccer is the skillful sport but volleyball is the popular sport.
“I salute all the technical officials for a job well done in making the championships very successfully.
“Many of you (players) are unemployed and it’s the sponsors that make it possible for you to represent PNG at international and national tournaments.
“So please my challenge to you is to give back meaningful to the sport,” said Dick. 
VAVA Open Men’s team were crowned the kings of volleyball for the eighth consecutive year but were put on notice by TAVA who were the runner-up for the second time.
TAVA who lost to VAVA last year in Lae 3-1 really improved when they pushed Ravu Mahuru and his side to the final and fifth set but lack of experience denied the Tatana boys the win and they lost 3-2.
The huge effort by Tatana to meet VAVA in the finals again reflected how serious village based amateur volleyball associations have improved in skills and standard.
TAVA president George Daira, the driving force behind volleyball in Tatana had nothing but praise for the team led captain by Garry Udia.
“This is the second time TAVA open men’s team came runner-ups and it shows they have really improved.
“I call on PNGVF and the national selectors to consider selecting some of my players because I think they have done very well.
“They played in their first finals in Lae last year and repeated that performance again in these national championships.
“Not only that, Garry Udia was overlooked for this year’s Pacific games and was very outstanding in the championships and won the most valuable player award.
“The players from the Tatana mens team have put their hands up for selection and some of the selections should go in their favor as they will earn it on merit.
“I also want to say thank you to the PNGVF for giving TAVA the opportunity to co-host the championships.
“This has certainly lifted the code at Tatana village and I urge the Tatana village community as well as business people from the village to support TAVA.
“On behalf of my team management I would like to thank all our supporters, families and sponsors for their overwhelming support towards TAVA in this years championships,” said Daira.
PNGVF female vice president Mouna Sogo expressed their gratitude towards TAVA saying Daira and his executives have been very supportive of PNGVF.
“They have been very loyal to the federation as well and two years after been affiliated to the PNGVF, TAVA has proven to be a very outstanding amateur volleyball association,’ said Mouna.
NCDVA Open Mens coach Michael Unatah also congratulated TAVA for their outstanding performance.
 “I did not expect Tatana to make the finals for the second time, they surprised me and really improved from 3-1 in Lae to 3-2.
‘It was just the basics especially passing, they fail to pass to the setter and gave away free balls, they should have won the game when they lead 10-7 in the final set.
“That goes back to experience when playing under pressure and VAVA proved that.
“You can’t give free balls to VAVA in the finals they will just come up with the kill.
The NCDVA Open mens team of Charlie David, Ula Gima, Richard Kila, George David, Timothy Kila and Moa Opa had everything in height to the playing skills but still could not stop VAVA from advancing to their eight straight grand final appearances.
Mentally NCDVA were defeated outright and it was a learning curve for Unatah and his boys to accept and move on.
“We would have liked to play VAVA in the pool matches or the quarter finals that would be really good.
“But we are moving on and will be getting ready to hopefully meet them in Alotau next year.
The championships for the first time saw Koiari Amateur Volleyball Association participate in the Open men and women and Under 21 men and women.
The newcomers certainly raised some eyebrows but since it was their first time on the national stage the players, their team management and sponsors had plenty to learn.
A few suggestions the Koiari association should consider for future championships; make two teams for the open men and women and the U21 men and women as from observations many of their talented players were not given much opportunity to play and having two teams in each division would really expose the players skills and make them competitive at that level.
Also preparations in advance to secure potential sponsors months before the preparation is vital.
And that sponsorship should take some burden off payment of levy fees as majority of Koiari male and female players are village based and unemployed.
The team management should go back and critically analyze each team’s performance and see how they can improve.
Lastly the team management should have people with experience in coaching team management.