MEXICALI, Baja California.- “Everything is ready” reads the headline of La Cronica, one of the Mexicali newspapers, in reference to the Pan American Women’s Volleyball Cup that starts on Friday with 10 teams from the Americas battling for four tickets to the 2005 World Grand Prix.
USA, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Brazil, four countries with berths for the Athens Olympics, are considered the strongest in the field.
The Americans, with a team that include such stars as Heather Bown, Nancy Metcalf, and Danielle Scott, finished in third place in the World Cup last November in Japan. They are just coming from taking the silver medal in the Montreux Volley Masters in Switzerland.
Cuba won the NORCECA Confederation qualifier in Santo Domingo last December and the Dominicans crushed their rivals in the South American Qualifier in Caracas in January.
Brazil won the silver medal in the World Cup and will be represented by a group of promising stars that won the bronze medal in last year’s U-18 World Championship in Poland.
Cuba finished second in the Yeltsin Cup in Russia and ended in fourth place in the Montreux. The Cubans’s power is on the shoulders of Yumilka Ruiz and Zoila Barros, two members of the world’s elite.
The Dominicans finished fourth in the Yeltsin Cup and are coming from a period of combined training with the French Team in Montpelier. They are led by Milagros Cabral, last year’s Most Valuable Player in the Pan American Cup.
Cristobal Marte, President of NORCECA, arrived last night to supervise the organization of the event. Also here is Alejandro Salinas, President of the Mexican National Federation.