THE qualifying event to determine Trinidad and Tobago's pairs for the next leg of the 2012 NORCECA (North, Central American and the Caribbean) Beach Volleyball Circuit will take place today in Toco.
Mission Beach will also be the venue from Friday until next Sunday when a NORCECA beach volleyball competition is staged in this country for only the second time. The only other time was in 2009 at Saith Park, Chaguanas, which has been the home for the sport in T&T since the man-made sand court was laid over five years ago.
In fact the qualifying tournaments to select pairs to compete in all the other tournaments on this year's NORCECA tour have all been contested at Saith Park.
However, the Trinidad and Tobago Volleyball Federation has made the obvious decision to stage this one in Toco to give players a "feel of the Mission Beach sand" in actual competition before Friday.
The successful pairs are expected to be in camp there from Wednesday getting ready for the tournament. It will be the tenth leg of this year's circuit, coming three weeks after this country's best-ever showing in a NORCECA beach competition.
The No. 1-ranked teams of Elki Philip and Ayanna Dyette as well as Fabian Whitfield and Daneil Williams both just missed the podium by finishing fourth in St Lucia, while the combinations of Pauline Woodroffe and Nancy Joseph and Colin Bernard and Simon Blake both ended up just one place behind.
The female pairs will be heavily favoured to represent the country again, but Christian Francois and Kevin Rivers could be a threat to the four "Toco boys."
After winning the qualifying tournament, Rivers and Francois competed in the eighth leg in California, USA, at the end of September, but they were then upset by Blake and Bernard for the second ticket to St Lucia.
The penultimate stage will take place the weekend after next (November 23-25) in Panama and the 12th and final leg of the 2012 NORCECA circuit is scheduled for the weekend after that in Aruba.
First serve in Toco today is 9 a.m.