Cuba is the heavy favorite to win the Norceca Women’s Olympic Qualifier and coach Luis Felipe Calderon pronounced his squad as ready to make it to Athens. The tournament will be played in Santo Domingo starting this Monday 15 with teams also from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.
“We know that there are some good teams here but we are prepared to win the tournament and the right to be one of the twelve teams in the Olympic Games,” said Calderon.
He pointed out the experience of the past World Cup in Japan as one of the keys for his optimism entering the Norceca event.
“I think the World Cup was crucial in the maturing process of some of our players,” he said. “And after finishing in sixth place in Japan, we are ready to win here.”
Veterans Yumilka Ruiz and Zoila Barros and the emerging Yaima Ortiz form the core of a solid squad. Ruiz had the third best number of spikes during the World C up with 147, only behind MVP Maggie Glinka of Poland and Turkish Neslihan Demir, while Barros was the best server (34 aces) and third best scorer and Ortiz was second only to Chinese Zhao Ruirui in spikes with a percentage of 54.5.
“The Dominican Republic team was also in the World Cup and have to be considered along with Canada, a team that have been competing a lot this year,” said Calderon. “But I like very much the chances of Cuba to win the tournament.”
Report from Roosevelt Comarazamy, Confederation Press Officer