Jamaica’s female beach volleyballer, Kai Wright, said their fifth place finish at the Norceca Beach Volleyball tour in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, on the weekend resulted from their passion and determination and believes she and partner, Danielle Perry, will make it to Rio this summer. Wright noted that Perry lives abroad so regular practice is not possible and tournament like these play an important role in their preparation. However, the main reason they went to the Dominica Republic was to gain experience and practice. “The main purpose was to prepare for the third round of Olympic qualifiers, get selected for the Pan Am Games, get practice, see other teams and get some experience going into the third round. “The tournament was very challenging. Every team played us competitively because we were the underdogs. Nobody expected anything from us, much less to get a big placing, so they came at us really hard. But we played real hard, worked together and achieved fifth place and it shows the passion we have for the sport,” said Wright. “My partner is from Florida so we don’t get to practice together much, but she is very passionate, she is very determined, she goes hard and plays really hard, she is very motivating, so I have a tremendous partner. Over the weekend we learnt a lot about each other playing wise and we are just working as a team,” she told The Gleaner. She thinks they are strong enough to seriously compete for a spot in the Rio Olympics when they travel to the Casova Women’s Beach Volleyball Olympic third round qualifiers in El Salvador next week. “The more we go and represent and play the more the results are coming, it means our performance is getting better every time and that is what we aim to achieve,” she surmised. “We are very prepared, we have camp where the overseas players come down and we train every day, two times for the day. Hopefully we’ll go to the third round and be ready mentally and physically and I am very confident we can reach the Olympics,” said Wright. “We have one week before we leave for the third round and we’re looking to qualify and put Jamaica on top. We want to pave the way for the younger volleyball players, so we will work hard, play hard and qualify for the Olympics,” she promised. VOLLEYBALL:
Promising British sprinter Zharnel Hughes has signed with the American sports agency Doyle Management Group, as he looks to regain success shown as a junior athlete.In 2015, at just 19 years old, Hughes challenged and nearly beat Usain Bolt at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York. He then went on to win a pair of 200m races at Diamond League meets in Lausanne, Switzerland, and on home soil in London before finishing fifth at the World Championships in Beijing.Hughes found himself injured for 2016 season, but is recovering nicely and can’t wait to take on 2017 stronger than ever.”I’m excited to attack the 2017 season with a vengeance. I had a tough year with injuries in 2016, but I’m healthy again and I’m learning about my body. I’m doing a better job of taking care of myself on and off the track and I am very focused. I am still very young and I know there’s a lot of time ahead for me in this sport, but I am hungry! I had a taste of success in 2015 and I want to build on that this year and put myself on the map at the top of the sport. To win a medal in London in front of the home crowd is what I am working towards, and I am confident I can succeed,” said Hughes yesterday.Paul Doyle, CEO of Doyle Management Group, spoke very highly of his newest client.DESTINED FOR GREATNESS”Every once in a while, a very special athlete emerges and you just know they are destined for greatness. That is certainly the case with Zharnel. I’ve watched countless race videos of Zharnel and he just has a way about him. His stride are effortless. His strength and power is something rarely seen, especially in a 19-year-old kid. In a few years’ time, we could be regarding Zharnel as the greatest sprinter in British history. He has the talent, he has the determination, and he has the maturity and mentality to be successful. I honestly think he could be one of the best sprinters of all time, when all is said and done,” said Doyle.The 6’3″ Anguilla-born athlete will open his competition season race this Saturday at the Camperdown Classic in Kingston, Jamaica, where he will contest the longer sprint of 400m. Twice the distance of his bread-and-butter event, the 200m.”I’m looking forward to getting back on the track and competing again. The 400m race will be a good indicator of my fitness and the progress I have made in training. Consider me one to watch,” said Hughes.