Volleyball may not be a seasonal sport in the Motuan villages of Central province, but the turn out and participation over the last four days of the Gabagaba Volleyball tournament is a testament of the incredible interest it holds among the locals.
With a total of 42 teams participating during the four days, Gabagaba villagers as well as people from surrounding villages in Hiri Coast, Rigo East and Rigo coast, packed the venue in support and interest.
The initial reception for a first timer in a Motuan village, such as Gabagaba, would be the warm welcome and the laid back community. So it is surprising when one comes across these villages, in action, during a volleyball game.
The locals and the visiting villages played volleyball like true professionals, with convincing dummies that, at times, had their opponents scrambling, and athletic abilities which left bystanders in awe.
All this happened in make-shift courts on the sand but the atmosphere was very competitive, and the sand, dust and the excruciating heat did not hinder the players and their brilliance on court.
Gracing the tournament with their presence also was Former National Representative, Geoffrey Charlie, and Current National Representative, George David.
Both played in Hula’s Walai Dolphins team, though their team was not able to secure a spot in the Finals.
By the Quarter Finals of the tournament, the supporters were kept on their feet until the Grand Final.
Tournament Director, Joe Kila, said there is an abundance of talent and there are already plans to make the sport seasonal.
During the National Championship last year, Hula was the only village from that end that sent a team, but there’s more talent to these group of villages than what meets the eye.
The likes of Gabagaba, Tubuserea and others are pretty well versed and skilful volley ballers, and they need a platform like the National Championship or other regional competitions.