Guadalajara, Mexico, April 11, 2010 - Cuba secured their place at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games with a 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-22) victory over USA as the NORCECA Continental Boys’ Youth Championship concluded in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday.
Cuba's Wilfredo Leon, who also plays for the Cuba senior side, was MVP and top scorer with 81 points as he led his side to victory in the NORCECA Continental Boys' Youth Championship
Elsewhere, Puerto Rico took bronze after defeating hosts Mexico 3-0 (29-27, 28-26, 25-23) in a fierce and exciting match and Guatemala took fifth as they recorded a 3-1 (25-17, 27-25, 16-25, 25-23) victory over the Dominican Republic.
2010 Boys' Youth Olympic Games
Women's Youth and Junior World Rankings
Men's Youth and Junior World Rankings
Cuba, who remained unbeaten throughout the tournament, will now travel to Singapore for the first Youth Olympic Games from August 14 to 26 as well as the 2011 FIVB Boys’ Youth World Championship along with the U.S. who qualified after they reached the final, which was played in front of 3,000 spectators.
Cuba's Wilfredo Leon, who also plays for the Cuba senior side, picked up the MVP, Best Scorer and Best Spiker awards but coach Rodolfo Sanchez was quick to point out that it was a team effort which saw them claim victory.
"I’m very happy because just as I had said at the beginning of this tournament, the team wasn’t just Leon." Sanchez said after the win. "He has been vital, the soul of the side, but his teammates have complimented him and have also given their best.
We fulfilled our dream.”
Leon himself agreed, saying "victory wasn’t just for me. All my teammates have contributed. I am so happy to be a part of Cuban volleyball with this very talented group.”
Additionally, team captain Alexis Lamadrid praised the U.S. team, thanking them for the "beautiful spectacle that they helped create."
USA lamented their change in tactics against Cuba, but congratulated the side following their second-place finish.
"We changed our tactical plan in playing against Cuba. We congratulate them for their performance and wish for them to win at the Youth Olympic Games."
Elsewhere, Puerto Rico captain Ramon Burgos expressed his happiness at coming away with the Bronze medal in what he said was an even match against Mexico.
"The confrontation was very even," he said. "At the beginning, we were adjusting our blocking and defense. We were looking forward to this match and the medal was a motivation since the gold was no longer an option for us.”
And despite the loss Mexico coach Justo Arias said he was pleased with how his team performed.
“They gave their all for every point in a very even game where the differences
were really psychological and tactical," he said. "I feel that we must now learn how to impose ourselves on opponents and have the mental strength to manage the decisive moments of each set.”
3. Puerto Rico
6. Dominican Republic
8. Costa Rica
MVP - Wilfredo Leon (CUB)
Top Scorer - Wilfredo Leon (CUB)
Best Spiker - Wilfredo Leon (CUB)
Best Blocker - Russell Aaron (USA)
Best Server - Jonathan Rivera (PUR)
Best Defensive - José Mendoza (MEX)
Best Setter - Jonathan Ponce (MEX)
Best Receiver - Disotuar Travieso (CRC)
Best Libero - José Mendoza (MEX)