Starting Feb. 10, the southern Nicoya Peninsula communities of Malpaís and Santa Teresa will host the sixth round of the Beach Volleyball Continental Cup, as part of qualifying opportunities for the 2012 Olympic Games. With two men’s and two women’s teams, Costa Rica will face nine other countries for the chance to reach the next stage.
Forty teams, including teams from Central America (Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua) and the Caribbean (Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Curaçao, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands), will play each other for the four remaining spots in the next stage of the competition, the Continental Cup, in Nayarit, Mexico. These teams will compete against the top confederation in “America,” which includes Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The U.S. team belongs to the World Tour, which has its own league and qualifying process.
This will be the first time Costa Rica hosts a stage of the Continental Cup Beach Volleyball Tournament, but as the president of the Costa Rican Volleyball Federation (Fecovol) noted, it probably won’t be the last.
“This is an important challenge for the federation, a large financial commitment. But with the support and experience of the Beach Volleyball Association, the motivation of competing at home, and our natural infrastructure [beaches], it is also an opportunity. … It is time we show what we have and what we are worth,” said William Corrales, Fecovol’s president.
In Malpaís and Santa Teresa, women’s teams will play Feb. 10-12. Men’s teams will play in Montelimar, Nicaragua, Feb. 15-17. Aside from possibly qualifying more athletes for the London Olympics, this event will help promote Costa Rica as a sports tourism destination, and the executive director of the Tourism Chamber of Malpaís-Santa Teresa, Juan Carlos Borbón, urged fans to “support our athletes in a nice, family environment.”