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Canada’s MacNeil, Richards clinch Youth Olympic Games spot

Andrew Richards (left) and Jake MacNeil of Canada bite their medals while pointing out the Nanjing Games sign in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on Sunday
Fajardo, Puerto Rico, December 8, 2013 – Canada’s Jake MacNeil and Andrew Richards sealed their spot in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China with a thrilling 2-1 (17-21, 26-24, 15-12) victory over United States’ Louis Richards Torey DeFalco under rainy conditions at Seven Seas Beach in Fajardo on Sunday.

MacNeil and Richards, who went undefeated in their three outings during the preliminary phase of the NORCECA Central Zone Boys’ Qualification Tournament on Saturday, arrived into the decisive contest after another three-set battle with Mexico’s Luis Ramos and Jesus Rodriguez 2-1 (21-14, 23-25, 15-13).

“I am thrilled and speechless after this great moment,” an emotional MacNeil said. “We won the trials in Canada six months ago to come to this tournament and we have been training very hard since then. The work hard has paid off.”

“I never thought this thing was going to be possible,” Richards said. “It is like a dream representing our country in the Nanjing Games and I want to give credit to my partner, my coaches and my parents.”

Commenting about the USA Team, Richards said, “The match was even out there and could have gone either way. They are a great team and I wish them good luck in the next round so they can also get the chance to go to the Games.

In the semifinals, Richards/DeFalco defeated Puerto Rico’s Sergio Figueroa and Luis Delgado in straight sets 2-0 (21-13, 21-14).

In the contest to decide third place and a last chance to Nanjing at the NORCECA Final Playoff next March, where second and third placed teams of four tournaments will be competing for two remaining spots to the Games, Figueroa and Delgado battled past Ramos and Rodriguez 2-0 (25-23, 21-19).

Boys’ Results

Semifinals:  CAN d MEX 2-1 (21-14, 23-25, 15-13), USA d PUR 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) Bronze Medal Match: PUR d MEX 2-0 (25-23, 21-19)
Gold Medal Match: CAN d USA 2-1 (17-21, 26-24, 15-12)

Final Positions: 1. Canada, 2. United States, 3. Puerto Rico, 4. Mexico.

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