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Cuba                                   Click here to download Team Profile in pdf format

Cuba comes into the 2003 World Cup with the aim of turning around a recent run of poor form and reorganising themselves for the Athens Olympics.

Their form recently has been disappointing and the glory days of the 90's when they won the Olympic Gold three times are all but a distant memory.

Coming off a sub-standard fifth place finish at the 2002 World Championship in Germany, a far from satisfactory seventh placing at the Montreux Masters and an 11th place finish at the 2003 World Grand Prix, Cuba have a lot to look forward to at the 2003 World Cup.

The three time World Champions play a hard, Soviet-style power game and are traditionally exceptional jumpers and hard hitters. Indeed a former U.S. coach said of them " they are the best. You love to watch them, but you don't like to play against them!"

The national team has included some of the world's great players but some of the side that won the gold medal in Sydney 2000 have now retired. Younger players are now being drafted into the team to lay the foundation for a solid performance in Athens 2004.

Of those who stood on the podium at Sydney 2000, Yumilka Ruiz, Marta Sánchez and Zoila Barros are still there and head this team of young players who have played inconsistently in the World Grand Prix, the Pan-American Cup and other NORCECA tournaments in the past three years.

Yumilka and Marta are two attackers who contribute a great deal to the team not only by their power and effectiveness but also by their shear determination that they exhibit every time they go on court.

Ruiz was honoured as the Best Scorer at the 2002 World Championship in Germany and in the NORCECA Continental Championship, where Cuba qualified for the World Cup, while Zoila finished as the Best Server at the recent Pan-American Cup.

Another encouraging sign is the development of the 17-year-old 190cm Nancy Carrillo, who has been limited in play recently due to a fractured finger. But she has already recovered and will be a source of inspiration for Cuba at the net in attack and on the block as she continues to perfect her technique.

The Cuban women have a distinguished record in international competition and were Olympic champions three times and have taken four World Championship titles. Their performance in the World Cup, will be another litmus test on their progress ahead of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

Recent Results

NORCECA Continental Women's Championship in the Dominican Republic (September)
Gold medal play-off:
Cuba lost to USA 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 30-28)
Semifinal: Cuba beat
the Dominican Republic 3-2 (25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 20-25, 15-11)
Cuba lost to USA 3-2 (20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 18-25, 15-13)
Cuba beat Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-6, 25-15, 25-14)
Cuba beat Costa Rica 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-13)

Pan Am Games in the Dominican Republic (August)
Final: Cuba lost to the Dominican Republic 3-2 (25-16, 25-17, 14-25, 26-28, 15-13)
Semifinal: Cuba beat USA 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-21)
Cuba beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-21)
Cuba beat Mexico 3-0
Cuba beat Venezuela 3-0 (25-16, 25-27, 25-17)

2003 World Grand Prix in Italy (July-August) finished 11th
Cuba lost to Japan 3-2 (18-25, 25-18, 25-20, 19-25, 15-13)
Cuba lost to the Netherlands 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-16, 15-13)
Cuba beat Italy 3-2 (16-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-20, 15-12)
Cuba lost to Germany 3-1 (25-16, 25-14, 22-25, 25-16)
Cuba lost to USA 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-14)

World Cup results

1999 - First
1995 - First
1991 - First
1989 - First
1985 - Second
1981 - Sixth
1977 - Second
1973 - Fifth