domingo, maio 11, 2008

Cuban team absent from Judo competition

Cuban team absent from Judo competition
The Associated Press
Published: May 11, 2008
MIAMI: The Pan American Judo Championships continued in Miami on Saturday, but one team was notably absent from the competition.
The Cuban national team, which during the last two days had won a tournament-high 15 medals, opted to rest Saturday in preparation for Sunday's Zone Qualifying round.
Their absence during the morning Kata (form) championships fueled some speculation of possible defections, but that notion was put to rest in the early afternoon when members of the team were spotted in the stands.
"Some of them spent time with their families," said USA Judo president Jose Rodriguez, who dispelled rumors of defections.
Rodriguez went on to point out that Saturday's Kata and team competitions were largely unimportant to judokas with Olympic aspirations. Nearly every member of the 14-person Cuban national team has a chance to qualify for the summer games in Beijing.
"Sometimes a coach may choose to rest his players, give them time off," Rodriguez said.
Members of Team Cuba were unavailable for comment Saturday.
Cuba's absence Saturday afforded other teams the opportunity to shine. Brazil swept the men's and women's team-event gold. The United States women's team took silver while the men earned a bronze.
For the more high-profile squads, the team competition is a careful balance between playing your best and saving them for later rounds. Another concern coaches must weigh is whether to enter athletes with legitimate chances to win berths in Beijing.
An example on Saturday was USA's Katie Mocco, who as the women's 78-kilogram representative went 3-0 in three walk-overs.
"There weren't a lot of bigger girls competing today," Mocco said. "I think most of them are resting for tomorrow."
The Pan American Championships end Sunday.
FONTE: International Herald Tribune - France

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