Larnaka, Cyprus, July 26, 2014 – Although Saint Lucians Dala Noel and Skye Mondesir did not win a single match this week, they were extremely proud to participate at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships as Caribbean ambassadors.
“Our participation in this tournament counts more to us than our results in the five pool matches we have participated in. We knew from the beginning that all matches would be difficult, as the standard of such games is very high”, said 16-year old Skye.
“It was an honour to represent our country in these World Championships”, she continued. “We feel as the ambassadors. Not only of Saint Lucia, but rather of the Caribbean as a whole.”
Larnaka was their first trip to Europe. It took Skye and 18-year old Noel two days and four flights to arrive in Larnaka. And soon they will make another important trip; to Nanjing in China, for the Youth Olympic Games. The two girls qualified last year for the big event – which will feature beach volleyball for the first time – by winning the Eastern Caribbean group.
Since then they have been training hard. “We are learning continuously”, said Skye, who also competed at the U17 in Mexico last week. “Losing is not a disappointment to us; it is part of the experience. We aim to participate in as many international tournaments as we possibly can. With the help of our coach, we will do our best to bring wins for our country.”
Noel did not expect any wins at the U21, but they should have done better, she said. “I really expected us to do better, but since Skye just came from three tours, one after the other, she is kind of tired. If it wasn’t for that we would have played much better. Maybe we would not have won, but we could have put up a fight.”
“It’s frustrating, but at the end of the day it was up to ourselves”, Skye added. “What you put in, is what you are going to get. When we go back, we have to see what we have to improve on. Like we always do.”
“And we definitely need to fix our resting patterns”, she continued. “Because we had to change from one time zone to the next. So you are kind of not settled and not eating healthy. All these things contribute to your general performance. So we will work on those too.”
But first the girls will travel to Porto for the FIVB U19 World Championships, where they are aiming for better results. “Although the fact that the players in Portugal will be of younger age does not necessarily mean that matches will be easier in any way”, said Skye.
Regarding the tournament in Larnaka, Noel was very impressed. “This is a very organised event and people here are hospitable and willing to help the participants, something which reminds us of our home country.”