Cuba was victorious in both genders of the recently concluded Varadero Beach Volleyball Tournament in Varadero Cuba, the second stop of the 2022 Norceca Beach Volleyball Tour.

Leila Martinez and Lidy Echeverría were crowned at home as queens of the women's segment. The pair of Martínez and Echeverría prevailed against Canadians Emma Glagau and Ruby Sorra 2-1 (21-12, 19-21, 15-12) in a close duel. USA pair of Iya Lindhal and Alexandra Wheeler won third place after defeating Guatemalans Natalia Girón and Laura Quiñones 2-0 (21-14, 21-19).

Miguel Ayón and Yosvani Carrasco completed the Cuban double victory. Ayon and Carrasco scored a comfortable 2-0 (21-13, 21-17) win over the American duo of Travis Mewhirter and Thimothy Brewster. Third place went to another Cuban pair Jorge Luis Alayo and Noslen Díaz who edged Americans Ryan Smith and Michael Boag 2-1 (18-21, 21-12, 15-12).

The Jamaican pair of Ryck Webb and Noley Ferguson placed 14th of 16 teams. Coming into the tournament the Jamaicans were seeded 15. They played and lost their first two games against the eventual 2nd and 4th place teams USA A and USA B.

General Secretary of the Jamaica Volleyball Association, Audley Weir is optimistic based on the performances of the team.

“Jamaica did well under challenging circumstances. We saw a lot of positives from this trip. The team was very competitive against the Americans who are a volleyball powerhouse in the World. We will regroup and prepare for the next tournament,” Weir said.

Jamaica was the highest placed team from the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) region. The Jamaican women’s team will participate in the next leg of the Norceca Beach Circuit which will be held in La Paz, Mexico from May 13 – 16, 2022.

Jamaica’s beach volleyball teams are set to participate in the 2022 North, Central America and Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA) Beach Volleyball Tour this year thanks to the timely intervention of the Jamaica Olympic Association that has provided the necessary funding to the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA).

The 2024 Olympic cycle began in 2020, and without being able to compete for the last two years, Jamaica’s teams are forced to play catch up as other countries in the region were able to continue to train, compete and improve their rankings.

The lack of funding has also presented challenges as the JaVA was only able to send their Men’s team to the tour that is currently being held in Varadero, Cuba, and only the Women will be able to compete in the tour to be held in La Paz, Mexico from May 13-16, 2022.

However, thanks to the JOA, the JaVA will now be able to compete in the 2022 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Tours, which is used to earn points and improve rankings in order to qualify for the Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and the Olympics.

With the support of the JOA, Jamaica will be sending both Men and Women's Beach Volleyball Teams on the following tours:

July 28 – July 31 – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

August 4- August 8 - Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

August 25 – August 29 – Canada

September 29 – October 3 – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

November 3 – November 7 – Hato Mayer, Dominican Republic

Audley Weir, General Secretary of JaVA, in thanking the JOA said “due to the financial support from the JOA, Jamaica is poised to qualify for major tournaments, as the lack of funding and not being able to participate in competitions in the past, has seen our teams narrowly missing out on qualifying for both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games,” he said.

The United States finished top of the Tokyo Olympics medal table after a stunning run of success from their elite women on the final day of competition.

Triumphs in basketball, volleyball and track cycling saw Team USA move to 39 gold medals for the Games, pipping China at the post.

China finished with 38 golds, meaning that for the third successive Olympics it is the United States who hold sway on the medals front.

The all-conquering women's basketball team were 90-75 winners over Japan in their final, landing gold for a seventh successive Olympics.

They last lost at the Games in 1992 at Barcelona and were never in danger of surrendering their undefeated streak since, as Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi each picked up the fifth gold medals of their remarkable careers.

Jennifer Valente emerged victorious from the multi-race omnium cycling event at the Izu Velodrome, with the 26-year-old from San Diego scooping the first Olympic gold of her career.

 

Volleyball gold medals had previously been the preserve of the men among the US ranks, but now the women have triumphed at Olympic level too.

Their first visit to the top step of the Games podium was secured by a 3-0 win over Brazil in Sunday's final.

Haleigh Washington, a 25-year-old star of the team, said: “It's a great day to have a gold-medal day. The hard work we put in, the sweat, the tears, the blood, it’s been worth it. I am so proud to have done it with this group of women. I am so honoured."

Coach Karch Kiraly added: "I am so happy for this team and these amazing women in this programme. I told them not only are they bad-asses, but they are now gold medallists."

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge vowed to enjoy the moment before setting his next goal after successfully defending his Olympic men's marathon title at Tokyo 2020 on Sunday.

The 36-year-old Kenyan won by over a minute in a time of two hours, eight minutes and 38 seconds, with Dutchman Abdi Nageeye and Belgium's Bashir Abdi taking silver and bronze respectively.

The triumph was a coronation for Kipchoge who won gold at Rio 2016, while he claimed bronze and silver Olympic medals in the 5,000m in Athens and Beijing respectively.

Kipchoge, who is widely regarded as the greatest marathon runner in the modern era, refused to look ahead after his latest win.

"I am a believer of the philosophy that you should only chase one rabbit," Kipchoge said. "If you chase two, then you cannot get all of them.

"For the last two years I have been focusing on the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020, so I will only plan the next thing when there is a big job ahead of me.

"What was in my bucket list was Tokyo 2020. So I will go back now, talk to my coach, and see what the opportunities are and then I will come back to you people. But, for now, I want to enjoy winning here in Tokyo."

Nageeye and Abdi claimed second and third with an enthralling final sprint, edging out Kenyan Lawrence Cherono for the medals. The Dutchman willed on training partner Abdi in the dying stages.

"I was just telling him to stay with us, stay with us the last one (kilometre)," Nageeye said. "I felt good as that is what I was doing. I wasn't volunteering, but I knew if he stayed until the end, the last 200 metres, close your eyes and just sprint."

KENNY CLAIMS HISTORIC SEVENTH OLYMPIC GOLD

British cyclist Jason Kenny secured his seventh career Olympic gold medal, winning the men's keirin final on the final day of the Games after a remarkable race where he stormed ahead unopposed.

Kenny claimed his historic gold by 0.763 seconds from Malaysia's Mohd Azizulhasni Awang who edged Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands on the line to claim silver and bronze respectively.

In a bizarre race, the 33-year-old Kenny pulled clear with two laps to go, with second-placed Matthew Glaetzer not following him, powering ahead and eventually crossing the line on his own.

"It was such a long way," Kenny said. "I felt like the last lap took me about half an hour. But I got there in the end. I still can’t believe I crossed the line on my own."

He first won gold in the team sprint at Beijing 2008, following with two triumphs at London 2012 and three at Rio 2016, including the keirin title which he successfully defended.

Kenny's gold medal means he is the most successful British athlete in Olympic history, pulling clear of cyclist Chris Hoy.

Jason's wife Laura Kenny was involved in a huge crash in the opening round of the women's omnium and missed out on the medals, with gold won by USA's Jennifer Valente. Japan's Yumi Kajihara won the host country's first medal in cycling at Tokyo 2020 with silver.

Canada's Kelsey Mitchell won the gold medal from Ukraine's Olena Starikova in the women's sprint, with Hong Kong's Lee Wai Sze taking bronze.

USA CONTINUE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL DYNASTY

The United States women's basketball team claimed their seventh consecutive gold medal with a 90-75 victory over hosts Japan.

Brittney Griner top-scored with 30 points for USA, along with five rebounds and two assists.

Team USA opened up a nine-point lead at the first change and they were never headed, with a strong display headed by Griner.

USA only hit four three-pointers for the game compared to Japan's eight, but the favourites played to their strengths with strong offensive and defensive contributions from A'ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart.

Wilson added 19 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and five assists, while Stewart was exceptional with 14 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and five assists.

USA veteran Sue Bird signed off on her Olympic career with a fifth gold medal.

USA MOVE CLEAR WITH VOLLEYBALL TRIUMPH

The United States moved into the outright lead on the gold medal table after clinching their first-ever women's volleyball victory.

USA triumphed 3-0 over Brazil, winning 25-21 25-20 25-14 in a dominant final display.

The gold medal took USA's tally to 39 golds, moving ahead of China with 38 as the final day continued to unfold.

The Dominican Republic’s good run of form was halted Sunday when they lost to Russia at the Volleyball Nation’s League in Italy.

The Dominican Republic followed up their win against Korea yesterday with a victory against Poland at the Volleyball Nation’s League in Italy.

 The Dominican Republic rebounded from yesterday’s close defeat to Belgium to beat Korea in fine style at the Volleyball Nation’s League, in Italy, on Tuesday.

Overall, the Dom Rep gave a commanding performance to win in straight sets 25-23, 28-26, 25-18.  Although they got off to a shaky start, the team’s aggressive approach to the match was clear.

The Caribbean team dropped points early in the first set but worked their way back with strong backcourt defence and impressive attacking to eventually come out on top. 

After claiming the first, Dom Rep took a commanding lead in the second set but lost concentration at one point and Korea was able to capitalise and tie the set at 23-all.  Thanks to good blocking at the net and a couple of mistakes from the Koreans, however, they were able to close out the set and take a 2-0 lead.

Dom Rep was closely trailed by their opponents in the final set, but with the score at 16-15 in their favour, they started to pull away and surged to victory for the second time this tournament.

Outside hitter Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez and right-side hitter Isabel Pena were the top scorers for the Dominican Republic with 16 points each. Martinez had 14 kills, a block, and an ace, and Pena finished with 15 kills and a block.

This victory means that the Dominican Republic now sit ninth on the table with seven points from five matches.  The team will be hoping to carry the winning momentum into their next game tomorrow against Poland.     

The Dominican Republic women’s team suffered their third defeat earlier today in the preliminary round of the Volleyball Nation’s League in Italy.

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