Havana, Cuba, November 24, 2004 - It is quite probable that very few people know Cuba was the Hispanic country where Volleyball was first played. And now they are prepared to celebrate it with all the necessary fanfare.
A story by journalist Ricardo Quiza published by Juventud Rebelde narrates that the fingers in one hand are more than enough to count the nations who began playing Volleyball before Cuba.
Created in 1895 by William G. Morgan, a Physical Education professor in the YMCA of Holyoke, Massachussets, United States, the discipline of the high net was introduced to Cuba ten years later and developed, in the course of time, into one of the most popular disciplines on the island.
So next year the Cubans will commemorate one century of Volleyball on the island. The program scheduled is as attractive as it is possible.
Quiza relates that through the YMCA of Havana (Young Men Christian Association), located in the Paseo del Prado Avenue and Canadian L.M. Ward as its first director, the practice of Volleyball in the Cuban capital began in 1905.
Both the Cuban Volleyball Federation and the National Sports Institute are organizing numerous events for the centennial.
Next October Cuba will inaugurate the National Volleyball Hall of Fame, one of the top priorities of the Organising Committee. Also it is planned to pay a tribute to the Men's Team that represented the country in the II Pan American Games in Mexico in 1955, and to the Women's Team who attended the seventh edition of the continental competition also in Mexico in 1975.
Part of the celebrations will have a bilateral series in Cuban soil between the women squads of Russia and Cuba, as also the National League in both genders in January-April and the Beach National Tour.
A special edition of a postage stamp on the occasion of the anniversary will be issued and the organisers are programming one-hundred volleyball matches during the year in each of the 14 provinces of the country and the special municipality of Isle of Youth.
Last but not least is the convocation to a drawing contest for children, young and adults on the theme of Volleyball and a literary competition with the participation of children writing about the history of Volleyball in the so called "Pearl of the Antilles."