Brazil Women Challenged by Cuba: Brazil defeated Cuba to secure 1st place in Group B, but Brazil did not coast to an easy double digit victory as they had in previous contests. Cuba got 9 goals a piece from backcourt players Arassay Duran and Suleiky Gomez and kept the game respectable for a final score of 32 to 28. Duran was particularly impressive with 7 of 9 shooting from 9 meters. In Group A, Argentina defeated the Dominican Republic 26-15 to take first place. Argentina will therefore take on Cuba in the Semifinals while Brazil will play the Dominican Republic. In the lower half of the pool Canada’s woes continued with a 23-20 loss to Mexico.
Women’s Standings: www.rio2007.org.br/Nav/RES/ENG/HB/results/HB_400000_W_results_summary.html
Men’s Competition Day 2: Argentina stayed undefeated in Group A with an easy 35-16 victory over Uruguay while the Dominican Republic beat Mexico 35-21. Argentina has qualified for the Semi-finals and Uruguay will qualify if they can beat winless Mexico on Wednesday. In Group B both Brazil and Cuba cruised to easy victories over Canada and Chile respectively. They will play each other on Wednesday with the winner likely getting to avoid Argentina in the Semi-Finals.
Defection Update: According to news reports, http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90779/6217431.html http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/83141.html Cuban player Rafael Dacosta took a cab to Sao Paulo's where he hoped to join the club team Imes/Santa Maria/Sao Caetano, where another Cuban, Michel Ovedo, plays. Because the team already has 2 foreign players, the Brazilian League maximum, the club, however is not interested in his services.
Commentary: The two leading scorers for Cuba in their match against Brazil, Arassay Duran and Suleiky Gomez are young, (21 and 22 years old) and tall, (5 Feet 11 inches and 5 ft, 10 in). These two athletes are home grown talents that have not played much outside of Cuba and yet they were able to scorch the nets for 18 goals against Brazilian athletes that are playing important roles on top club teams in Europe. Makes you wonder how good they could be if they were playing in Europe. Makes you also wonder if they might be wondering the same thing. Note to Cuban Delegation: Keep an eye on your players.
Athlete Profile: Duran http://www.rio2007.org.br/WWW/ENG/BIO/ATH/102127.html
Athlete Profile: Gomez http://www.rio2007.org.br/WWW/ENG/BIO/ATH/102070.html