Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

Havana, July 25, 1998, Cuba Free Press.

REPATRIATED BASEBALL TRAINER, PLAYERS EXPRESS WORRIES; AND THERE'S OTHER NEWS FROM THIS SPORTS-MINDED COUNTRY By Ivan Garcia, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - Trainer Orlando Chinea and baseball players Angel Lopez, Jorge Diaz and Maikel Jova, repatriated to Cuba from the Bahamas last May, have told a Reuter's news service reporter for television network that they are worried.

A spokesman for the group said,"We feel persecuted and we have been warned. We feel confined. They are giving us a hard time."

The Bahamas government repatriated the four after they reached that area in a failed intent to reach the United States. The news writer interviewed them in Santa Clara, central Cuba where all four were born.

The trainer and the players have been interviewed singly by agents of the Office of State Security (OSS). While these Cuban athletes accuse the government of hostility towards them, the desertions by baseball players continue.

Latest to leave may have been Felix Isasis Bustamante, son of the legendary player Felix Isasis Mestre (who was a National club star during the sixties and early seventies); and 21-year-old Yoel Monzon Mejias, a pitcher. He and Isasis were part of a group that was training in Barcelona, Spain, where they asked for asylum. The two players were born in Matanzas Province.

These events were happening while Fidel Castro was discussing sports defections with the monopoly monochord parliament, suggesting different ways to stop them.

Cuba won the top prize in the Volley-Ball World Series for the first time after defeating Russia, Italy and Holland during the last round celebrated this year in Milan. The Cubans received a prize of US$1,750,000. Eighty percent of this prize will fatten the government's coffers, and the rest will be divided amongst the players and the technical team. Prominent among the Cubans were Osvaldo Hernandez, who was big in defense, and Yosvany Hernandez as one of the central blockers.

Of the 331 nations that participated in the First Juvenile Games celebrated this year in Moscow, Cuba won sixth place. The island's team, made up of 20 competitors, earned six gold medals, one silver and one bronze.

In the Fourth Good Will Games, from July 19 to August 2, in the United States, the Cuban delegation earned six medals, all in athletics. Gold medals went to the necks of world long jump champion Ivan Pedroso, who reached 8.54, and world champion high jumper Javier Sotomayor, with 2,33.

The rest of the prizes went to triplist Yoelbis Quesada and the 800-meter runner, Norberto Tellez, who received a silver medal. Isel Lopez, javelin thrower, also earned a silver, while Sonia Brut received a bronze.

The world bicycle championship which took place in Havana ended with Australia as the big winner. The Aussies took the first place, with four golds and three silvers, followed by France(2-1-4) and Germany (1-2-2). In the event, 34 nations Were represented. Cuba won a silver medal, thanks to Yosmany Poll, in the kilometer against the clock.

The 33rd World Baseball Championship has already started in different Italian cities. In spite of having replaced 75 percent of its members, the Cuban team appears as the favorite, together with the United States, Japan, Nicaragua and Australia. In the first two games, the Cubans beat to the ground the weak teams of Spain and South Africa. The victories were for the right- handed pitchers Jose Ibar and "supersonic" Omar Luis Martinez.

Ivan Garcia, Cuba Free Press.


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