Sunday, July 26, 2015

Half of Cuba men's hockey team defects

Half of Cuba men's hockey team defects
Last Updated: Sunday, July 26, 2015 - 10:52

Half of the Cuban men`s field hockey team at the Pan American Games in
Toronto defected to the United States, a player and sources close to the
Cuban delegation said Saturday.

The sources said eight of the 16 Cuban players had deserted, while team
member Roger Aguilera put the number at seven, just the latest in a rash
of Cuban defections across several sports.

"Everyone knows what happened to our team, we have seven of them in the
United States," said Aguilera, after the decimated Cubans were hammered
13-0 by Trinidad and Tobago.

Short of manpower, Cuba could only field eight players instead of the
standard 11 plus five substitutes.

They are not the first Cubans to defect during the Pan Am Games, after
four rowers disappeared last week, including silver medalist Orlando

It is not uncommon for Cuban athletes to defect, with baseball, boxing
and volleyball -- sports where Cuban stars can command big salaries
internationally -- particularly hard hit.

At the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, eight members of the Cuban
delegation defected.

In January 2013, Cuba eliminated legal barriers to foreign travel, but
that did not end the defections of artists and athletes, who remain
susceptible to the lure of higher pay abroad.

In an attempt to stem the losses, Cuba raised salaries of athletes, and
began allowing them to sign contracts with foreign clubs.

But the defections have continued, including at this month`s football
Gold Cup, despite a historic thaw in ties between communist Cuba and the
United States.


Source: Half of Cuba men's hockey team defects | Zee News -

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