This past weekend brought a host of International Countries to Wishaw Sports Centre to compete in the International Children’s Games.
On arriving at the Sports Centre, you could not have been more impressed with the way the centre was dressed and laid out; how professionally the centre and specifically the Volleyball courts were looking. All of this wonder was down to the hard work and dedication of Scottish Volleyball’s own Special Events team run by Jen Downs, Dougie Holmes of North Lanarkshire Sports Development, the SVA sponsors Gerflor and the magnificent Wishaw Sports Centre staff.
The competition started on Friday, with some of the International teams looking very impressive. There were many comments about the standard they were currently playing at considering this was an Under 16 level competition.
The stronger teams in the competition managed to win their pool matches and progress to the Semi Finals but there was a bit of business to take care of for the Lanarkshire and Edinburgh boy’s teams. They were drawn together at the pool stages and over 200 people made their way to the Lesser Hall in Wishaw Sports Centre to clap, shout and support this match to the bitter end. It certainly didn’t disappoint! The atmosphere was electric! The parents cheered their children on through Andy Fleming who was the match announcer and who managed to get everyone on their feet. A cameo role by ‘Digger Dan’ the ICG Volleyball mascot during one of the timeouts had the crowd in a frenzy. The Volleyball displayed by the two boy’s teams was nothing less than superb and like all good Volleyball matches, one team had to lose; on this occasion the Edinburgh boys took the match 2 sets to 1.
It now came down to a one set playoff to 15 points to determine the Semi Final place. This match was again a fantastic advert for Scottish Volleyball with Edinburgh emerging victorious and therefore taking their place in the Semi Final.
The Lanarkshire girls faced some very tough opposition and although they weren’t able to pick up any victories, the girls loved the experience of competing against some of the worlds best youth athletes. This experience will stand them in good stead for the future and show them what they need to do to compete on an International stage in the future.
The semi finals took place on Sunday morning and the level of competition was wonderful. Seoul (Korea) boys beat Edinburgh to advance to the final and Maribor (Slovenia) beat Kezckemeti (Hungary) to book their place in the Final. In the girls Semi Finals, Plock from Poland came through their match against Halifax from Canada and Los Angeles from USA beat Mislinja from Slovenia.
The finals were outstanding. The level from the players has to be congratulated. The crowds were full of noise for their respective teams. The women’s match was a great display of power, tactics and energy. Plock took the first set and Los Angeles responded with the second set which gave the crowd a deciding set for the ICG title. The Americans displayed some outstanding ability on the court and pushed ahead and won the title in front of a packed crowd of 600 spectators.
The boys final between Seoul and Maribor looked like it was going to be a one sided affair as Maribor flew into the lead early. They took the first set and were sitting very comfortably at 19-10 up in the second set. Seoul dug in deep and displayed some outstanding blocking and resiliency and fought back. Maribor had championship points but couldn’t close it out and Seoul grabbed their opportunity and took the second set and set up another decider. The 3rd set started very fast for Seoul and they found themselves with a commanding lead and one which they did not give away. They closed out the match and won the boys ICG title.
After all this was done, the reflection of volunteers, staff and guests was that this event through its positive approach and excellent organisation became one of the most popular events of all ICG sports. The volunteers were fantastic.
CEO Margaret Ann Fleming said “The International Children’s Games is a wonderful opportunity for us at Scottish Volleyball through volunteers and supporters to truly demonstrate that we are becoming Bigger, Better & Stronger. The outcome from last weekend, is that Scottish Volleyball has put on a world class event that we can all be proud of.”
Photos © Lynne Marshall (www.volleyballphotos.co.uk)