Havana, Cuba, February 16, 2008 - The Cuban Women's team face a heavy schedule in preparation for the Beijing Olympic Games as they attempt to secure a top-three finish and continue a streak of podiums that started with three consecutive gold medals in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta ’96 and Sydney 2000.
The Cuban squad, also winner of the bronze medal in Athens '04, will leave for China on February 20 under the guidance of coach Antonio Perdomo for a training camp and scrimmage matches with Chinese teams, said Raul Diago, President of the Cuban Volleyball Federation. They will then fly to Russia for more practice and matches against strong European teams.
The NORCECA Continental Champions will then fly back to Cuba to participate in the Cuban Sport Olympiad in April in the city of Sancti Spiritus.
With a ticket to Bejing already in their hands, the Cubans will be fully engaged during the final stretch to the Olympics, taking part in the China International Tournament, the Montreux Volley Masters in Switzerland, the Pan American Cup in Baja California, Mexico, and the FIVB World Grand Prix.
Middle Blocker and powerful server Nancy Carrillo, elected as Cuba's Best Player in 2007, leads the squad. The team also consists of veterans Yumilka Ruiz and Zoila Barros and setters Yanelis Santos and Daimi Ramirez.
Last year, Carrillo was the Most Valuable Player of the Pan American Cup, the Pan American Games and the NORCECA Continental Tournament. Ruiz, a member of the gold medal teams in Atlanta and Sydney and part of the Athens squad, was the MVP of the Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, last December