June 27, 2003 - Distinguished as a scorer and attacker during the 2002 World Championship in Germany, Yumilka Ruiz heads the Cuban national team that will be defending the crown of the second women’s Volleyball Pan American Cup to be played in Saltillo, Mexico, from June 28-July 5.
Ruiz will be part of a star studded Cuban line up that includes Nancy Carrillo (World Championship Best Server), Liana Mesa, Yanelis Santos, Anniara Munoz, Marta Sanchez and middle-blocker Zoila Barros. All participants in the team that placed fifth in the World Championship last year.
Completing the squad, coached by Eugenio George and Luis Felipe Calderon, is Yaima Ortiz, Indira Mestre, Katia Guevara, Dulce Maria Tellez and Rosir Calderon, who, like Carrillo, is the tallest on the team at 1.91 meters.
The team completed a rigorous phase of training in the Cuban capital before entering in the traditional Montreux Tournament in Switzerland, where they beat the Dominican Republic but lost to USA and China in their first event of the year after winning the Mexicali Centennial Cup where Dominican Republic, United States and Mexicali also took part.
Besides the importance of the coming Pan American Cup and qualifying for the 2004 Grand Prix, this event will serve as preparation for the new generation of “The Morenas of the Caribbean” in view of the continental games scheduled in Santo Domingo on August 1-17.
Another important goal for the Cuban team this season is qualifying in the NORCECA tournament in September for the World Cup of Japan, where three tickets for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games will be awarded.