Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, February 15, 2008 -
“I can see a good chance for us to make the Olympic Games for a second consecutive edition,” said Cruz during a break in a training session in Santo Domingo. “We have had victories or close matches against most of our potential opponents in the Tokyo tournament.”
The Dominican Republic is entering the tournament as the best-ranked Norceca team. USA qualified as the third finisher at the World Cup and Cuba won the Continental Tournament held in Mexico last December.
Host Japan, along with Thailand, Korea and Kazakhstan will be the Asian teams participating in the competition. Serbia and Poland will represent Europe and Puerto Rico, the best ranked Norceca team after Dominican Republic, will take part from Norceca, replacing Peru and Algeria who declined to participate.
“We can create problems to our opponents with the system we are implementing,” Cruz added. “Our setters have been doing a good job and Karla Echenique has improved a lot since our last competition.”
The drawing of lots for the World Olympic Qualification Tournaments will be held at Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo on March 3. Four Olympic berths will be available in the event for the best 3 teams plus the best Asian team.
Four players are expected to play major roles in the Dominican Republic aspirations for a place in Beijing. “I think Annerys Vargas, Bethania de la Cruz, Cindy Rondon and Sidarka Nunez will be keys for us,” said Cruz. “They represent the core of our team.” Vargas is currently playing in Turkey while the other three play in Japan.
“We still have to wait until the drawing of the lots to see who will be the rivals in the preliminary phase,” Cruz said. “But anyway, I like the chances of my team.”