Cuban volleyball star defects during tournament in Canada

Another Cuban athlete has chosen freedom over slavery to the communist Castro dictatorship, defecting from the national team while in Canada for a tournament. 21-year-old Ellemay Santa Miranda, one of Cuba’s most talented volleyball players, was being groomed to produce revenue and propaganda for the Castro regime as a slave athlete, but fortunately for her, that will no longer be the case.

Via Periodico Cubano (my translation):

Volleyball player Ellemay Santa Mirada defects from the Cuban team competing in Canada

Volleyball player Ellemay Santa Miranda left the Cuban team that participated in the NORCECA 2023 Women’s Continental Volleyball Championship held in Quebec, Canada, between August 29 and September 3, according to information published by the CubanSpike website.

Santa Miranda, who held the crucial defensive position for the national team, waited until the event ended and escaped at some point afterward. Ultimately, she did not show up at the airport where the delegation boarded a return flight to Havana.

For the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education, and Recreation (INDER), the athlete’s absence is a hard blow, as despite being only 21, she has immense talent. The native of Havana was selected as the best defender in the recent NORCECA Final Six Pan American Cup, held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The player, standing at 5’6″ tall, began her international breakthrough at the 2019 Under-20 World Championship held in Mexico, where she was identified by talent scouts as one of the most promising figures in Cuban volleyball.

The defense position is special in indoor volleyball. Their main function is defensive, particularly in receiving and defending the opposing team’s attack. A distinctive feature of this position is that they can be substituted in and out of the game without notifying the referee. This allows for a faster and more strategic rotation.

Many defenders start their specific training in this position during adolescence, although some may start later and still reach a high level. It takes a lot of practice to perfect the technique, which is why the preparation and development of specific skills for that role can take years. Even after reaching a professional level, defenders continue to train and improve their skills.

Ellemay Santa Miranda’s decision not to return to Cuba, taking advantage of this international tour to defect from the national team, adds to the growing list of athletes seeking to forge their own path, away from the restrictions and challenges of playing sports on the island.

The decline of Cuban women’s volleyball has been dramatic in recent decades. After achieving three consecutive victories in the Olympic Games of 1992, 1996, and 2000, the Cuban team has struggled to return to the elite of world volleyball, primarily due to the continuous defections that prevent forming a stable selection.

Currently, Cuba has two of the best volleyball players in the world, but neither represents the Caribbean nation, as they have been naturalized by other countries. These are the cases of Melissa Vargas from Cienfuegos, who shines with Turkey, and Wilfredo León, a member of the national team of Poland.

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