Shooting: Cuba wins big at American Shooting Championships

One quota to the 11 out of the 15 shooting events (men’s rapid fire pistol, men’s double trap, women’s trap and women’s skeet did not offer quotas) were available at the 2014 America Shooting Championships held from October 11th to October 20th 2014. This was the first out of two continental qualification events for the Americas, the other being the 2015 Pan American Games.

The big winner from this tournament ended up being Cuba whom won 5 out of the 11 spots available by winning gold in men’s 50m rifle 3 positions, men’s 50m rifle prone, men’s 50m pistol, women’s 50m rifle 3 positions and women’s 10m air rifle. The United States, considered to be the strongest nation in this sport in the Americas had a relatively disappointing performance, but was still able to win 3 quotas in men’s 10m air rifle, men’s 10m air pistol and men’s skeet. The other quotas went to Dominican Republic (men’s trap), Ecuador (women’s 25m pistol) and El Salvador (women’s 10m air pistol).

Unsurprisingly with only 5 total quotas between this tournament and the world championships the United States will be massive favourites to win many quotas at the 2015 Pan American Games. Of course between now and then there will be a number of shooting world cup events which will offer quotas for certain events. If the United States can win some there they may not completely shut out other nations from the continent from competing at the Olympics.

Quotas by Nation

  • Cuba – 5
  • United States – 3
  • Dominican Republic – 1
  • Ecuador – 1
  • El Salvador – 1

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Basketball: US repeat as FIBA Women’s World Champions

Like the men’s team did about a month ago the United States defended their title and won the 2014 Women’s FIBA World Championships for a record ninth time and qualified to the Olympics. The tournament was held from September 27th to October 5th 2014 where 16 teams across the world competed to become world champions and for 1 Olympic berth.

The United States went undefeated throughout the tournament and met Spain in the final. United States quickly took the lead and built it up to 48-29 by half-time. While Spain attempted to mount a bit of a comeback in the second half the United States was able to finish off with a 77-64 win. Tournament MVP Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx) who scored 18 points in the final and Brittany Griner of the Phoenix Mercury were both named to the tournament’s all-star team.

With both the United States and Brazil, the two highest ranked teams from the Americas already qualified qualification in the Americas tournament has become easier. Both Canada and Cuba will be looking to take the sole qualification spot while teams like Argentina and Puerto Rico will attempt to qualify though the final qualification tournament.

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Field Hockey: India and South Korea Win Gold at 2014 Asian Games

The Asian Games are a continental games where the best athletes from Asia compete in Olympic and non-Olympic events. Only one sport was a qualification event and that was the field hockey tournament held from September 20th to October 2nd 2014. The winner of the men’s and women’s event will qualify their team to the Olympics.

The women’s tournament was an 8 team tournament where two groups of four teams competed in a round robin where the top 2 from each group qualified to the semifinals. The teams to reach the semifinals were China, India, Japan and South Korea. In the first semi-final China defeated Japan 1-0 from a 57th goal by Wang Mengyu. In the other semi-final South Korea scored 3 goals by three different people to defeat India 3-1.

India was able to recover from their loss to win bronze over Japan 2-1 with a goal from Vandana Kataria 1 minute after Japan tied it up in the third. The gold medal and Olympic qualification went to South Korea whom narrowly defeated China 1-0 with a third quarter goal from Kim Darae.

The men’s tournament was a 10 team tournament where two groups of five teams competed in a round robin where the top 2 from each group qualified to the semifinals. The teams to reach the semifinals were India, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea. In the first semi-final India narrowly defeated South Korea 1-0 from a third quarter goal by Akashdeep Singh. The second semi-final between Pakistan and Malaysia was even closer. After no goals were scored after full time an 8 round penalty shoot-out was needed in order to decide the winner with Pakistan winning in a 6-5 decision.

For bronze South Korea was able to hold on to a 3-2 win with two goals from Jang Jonghyun. The final match was a classic India vs. Pakistan affair with Pakistan taking the lead in the third minute from Muhammad Rizwan Sr., but India came back to tie when Kothajit Khadangbam scored in the 27th minute. No more goals were scored after that and a penalty shoot-out was needed. In the end India was able to win gold and the Olympic berth with a 4-2 shoot-out win.

For the other Asian teams all is not lost as there is another opportunity to qualify to the Olympics. The 2014–15 FIH Hockey World League Semifinals is the qualifier for the non-continental winners. For the men South Korea and Pakistan will be favoured to grab some of the spots while Malaysia and Japan could potentially fight for one. On the women’s side China and Japan are favoured to get a spot while India will also have a chance.

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