October 21, 2003 - The Dominican Republic women's national team left for the 2003 World Cup in Japan on Tuesday with the goal of winning at least five of their 11 scheduled matches during the round robin competition which starts on November 1.
"We are flying to Paris where we will be joined by five players currently participating in the Italian League," coach Jorge Garbey said. "Then we will go to Japan to establish a training center in the city of Sendai where we will play against local universities teams.
"Our plan is to get there early and have all the players adjusted to the new atmosphere and fully recovered from jet lag. Also, we want to use the World Cup as preparation for the continental Olympic qualifier to be played in Santo Domingo from December 16-22," said the Cuban Garbey. "If USA or Cuba make the top three in Japan, then we will battle with the other remaining teams for another chance to qualify for the Olympics."
The World Cup is the first Olympic qualifier with the top three teams booking their places at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The Dominican Republic is entering the World Cup as a wild-card after winning the gold medal in the Pan American Games and grabbing the bronze in the Norceca Continental Championship, both events played in Santo Domingo. They were also runner-ups in the Pan American Cup in Saltillo, Mexico and are the Central American and Caribbean champions. However, they will be making their World Cup debut against Cuba in what promises to be an excellent match up. These two teams have played each other four times this year with two victories apiece. Three of the matches stretched to five sets.