Team Preview: Cameroon

Note: Last minute changes are always possible

Cameroon, located in Western Africa made its Summer Olympic debut in 1964 and has competed ever since. In 1976 the nation initially participated, but withdrew a few days into the Olympics in support of the African boycott. In its history Cameroon has won a total of five medals over three sports. 2012 marked the first time Cameroon failed to medal since 1996. Going into Rio the nation is currently not favoured to win a medal.

Cameroon’s best chance at winning an Olympic medal will come in boxing. With AIBA allowing professional boxers into the Olympics, in a last minute decision, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam was able to qualify during the final qualification tournament. Hassan is a 2004 Olympian and as a professional athlete he has amassed a 33-2 record and has held the world middleweight title in two different organizations (WBA and WBO). He will compete in the men’s light heavyweight. 2015 African Games gold medalist Wilfried Ntsengue will compete in the middleweight event. He will be joined by 2008 Olympian Mahaman Smaila in the light welterweight and Simplice Fotsala in the light flyweight.

In wrestling Cameroon will be represented by three women. 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 African Games silver and gold medalist respectively Annabelle Ali will lead the team as she will compete in her third Olympics in the women’s freestyle -75kg. She will be joined by 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist and 2015 African Games silver medalist Rebecca Muambo in the women’s freestyle -48kg and Joseph Essombe in the women’s freestyle -53kg.

Cameroon will be making its Olympic debut in women’s volleyball. The team qualified after winning the African qualifiers. Continentally the team is one of the strongest nations with silver and bronze medals won at the 2015 African Games and 2015 African Championship respectively. However, the team is lacking world experience and in the few times in which they have competed their results have been lacking, such as their 21st place finish at the 2014 World Championships.

In athletics Cameroon will send two athletes. 2015 African Games gold medalist Joelle Nkouindjin will compete in the women’s triple jump while 2016 African Championship gold medalist Auriol Dongmo will compete in the women’s shot put.

Other sports Cameroon will compete include judo where 2015 African Games bronze medalist Hortence Atangana will compete in the women’s -78kg. In weightlifting Cameroon will be represented by Petit Mikoumba (men’s -94kg) and Archangeline Fouodji (women’s -69kg).

Overall Cameroon will send 24 athletes to compete in 6 sports. This will be the smallest team sent to the Olympics since 2004.

Team Preview: Cyprus

Note: Last minute changes are always possible

Cyprus is an island nation located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The nation made its Summer Olympic debut in 1980 and has competed ever since. In 2012 Cyprus won its first ever Olympic medal, a silver medal in sailing. Going into Rio the nation is not favoured to win a medal, but it is expected to put up good results and could potentially challenge for a medal in a few events.

The largest portion of the team will be in athletics where seven athletes will compete. Leading the group is 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist Kyriakos Ioannou whom will compete in his fourth Olympics in the men’s high jump. Joining him in the event is Dimitrios Chondrokoukis whom reached the final at the 2015 World Championship. Another athlete to watch is 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist Apostolos Parellis whom will compete in his second Olympics in the men’s discus. On the women’s side we have Eleni Artymata whom will compete in the women’s 200m. She will be joined by Ramona Papaioannou whom will perform the 100/200m double. Other athletes competing include 2010 Youth Olympian Leonita Kallenou (women’s high jump) and Milan Trajkovic (men’s 110m hurdles).

Cyprus’ first Olympic medal winner will return in sailing. 2012 Olympic silver medalist Pavlos Kontides will compete in his third Olympics in the men’s laser. Kontides is still among the top sailors in the category and has won multiple medals at World Cup events and silver at the 2013 World Championship. Joining him will be Andreas Cariolou whom will compete in his fourth Olympics in the men’s RS:X.

In shooting Cyprus will compete with a couple of skeet shooters.  Returning to the Olympics is 2008 Olympian Andri Eleftheriou whom will compete in women’s skeet. Eleftheriou is the bronze medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 European Championship. Joining her will be Andreas Chasikos whom will compete in men’s skeet.

In tennis Marco Baghdatis will compete in his third Olympics (2004, 2012) in the men’s singles. Baghdatis has had an illustrious career where he has won 4 ATP titles, broke into the top 10 and reached the final at the 2006 Australian Open. While he no longer ranks that high he is still a top player and has broken into the top 40 during the 2016 season.

Other sports Cyprus will compete in include artistic gymnastics (Marios Georgiou, men’s events), cycling (Antri Christoforou, women’s road race), weightlifting (Antonis Martasidis, men’s -85kg) and swimming. Iacovos Hadjiconstantinou will compete in the men’s 400m freestyle while Sotiria Neofytou will compete in the women’s 100m butterfly.

Overall Cyprus will compete with 17 athletes in 8 sports. This will be the largest delegation of athletes sent since 2004.

Team Preview: Puerto Rico

Note: Last minute changes are always possible

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated United States territory located in the Caribbean Sea. The territory made its Olympic debut in 1948 and has participated ever since. Historically Puerto Rico has won a total of eight medals, six of them being in boxing. Puerto Rico has yet to win its first gold medal. In 2012 Puerto Rico won two medals and despite both athletes competing in 2016 the territory is not favoured to medal though it will have its chances to cause an upset.

A large portion of the team will come in athletics, led by 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Javier Culson. Competing in his third Olympics Culson has more recently won silver at the 2015 Pan American Games in the men’s 400m hurdles. While he is not favoured to win a medal he could make an appearance in the final. Another athlete to watch in athletics is Jasmine Camacho-Quinn whom will compete in the women’s 100m hurdles. She recently ran a time that could see her in the finals. Returning athletes include 2012 Olympians Eric Alejandro (men’s 400m hurdles), Beverly Ramos (women’s marathon) and Wesley Vazquez (men’s 800m). The rest of the team includes Andres Arroyo (men’s 800m), William Barnes (men’s 110m hurdles), Luis Castro (men’s high jump), Grace Claxton (women’s 400m hurdles), Alysbeth Felix (women’s heptathlon), Celiangeli Morales (women’s 200m) Diamara Planell (women’s pole vault) and David Smith (men’s high jump).

Wrestling will be headlined by 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jaime Espinal. The 2015 Pan American Games bronze medalist will compete in the men’s freestyle -86kg. Joining him is fellow 2012 Olympian and 2015 Pan American bronze medalist Franklin Gomez whom will compete in the men’s freestyle -65kg.

While boxing was historically Puerto Rico’s strongest sport the nation will only be sending a single athlete to the games. 2012 Olympian Jayvier Cintron will compete in the men’s flyweight.

Puerto Rico will be making its Olympic debut in women’s volleyball after winning the 12th and final spot at an Olympic Qualification Tournament. Ranked 17th in the world the team will enter the tournament as one of the lower ranked teams. While the team has competed internationally at the Grand Prix and World Championship its best results have come from continental play including a bronze medal at the 2015 NORCECA Championship and fourth place at the 2015 Pan American Games.

In tennis Puerto Rico will be represented by 2014 Youth Olympian Monica Puig. Puig won the bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and has had a decent start to the 2016 season where she reached the third road at the Australian and French Open.

Puerto Rico will compete in two disciplines in aquatics. Rafael Quintero will be the first male diver to compete for Puerto Rico since 1996. He reached the final of the men’s 10m platform at the 2016 World Cup and finished sixth. In swimming Vanessa Garcia will compete in her fourth Olympics in the women’s 50m freestyle. Joining her is Erik Risolvato whom will compete in the men’s 50m freestyle.

Puerto Rico will be making its Olympic debut in table tennis as the nation qualified two athletes at the Latin American qualifiers. With medals from the team event at the 2015 Pan American Games Adriana Diaz will compete in the women’s singles while Brian Afanador will compete in the men’s singles.

Another sport making its Olympic debut for Puerto Rico is triathlon. Manuel Huerta formally competed for the United States, even competing at the 2012 Olympics. Huerta has competed for Puerto Rico since 2013.

Lauren Billys will compete in the eventing event in equestrian, making their return to the sport since 2004. She and her horse, Castle Larchfield Purdy qualified through the Group D (Central and South America) rankings. While this will be her first Olympic games she has experience in multi-sport games as she has competed at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games.

Puerto Rico will be represented by one athlete in taekwondo. 2015 Pan American Youth Champion Crystal Weekes will compete in the women’s +67kg event. She’s already competed at the 2014 Youth Olympics and 2015 Pan American Games.

Other sports Puerto Rico will compete in are judo where 2012 Olympian Melissa Mojica will compete in the women’s +78kg while Maria Perez will compete in women’s -70kg. In shooting Puerto Rico will be represented by Yarimar Mercado in the women’s 50m rifle, 3 positions and 10m air rifle. She is the 2015 Pan American Games bronze medalist. In cycling Brian Babilonia will compete in the men’s road race and in weightlifting 2012 Olympian Lely Burgos will compete in the women’s -48kg.

Overall 42 athletes will compete in 14 sports. This will be the largest delegation of athletes since the 2004 Olympics.

Team Preview: Lithuania

Note: Last minute changes are always possible

Lithuania is a Baltic Nation located in Eastern Europe. Lithuania first participated in the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics. After missing the 1932 and 1936 Olympics the nation was incorporated into the Soviet Union towards the end of World War II. Lithuanian athletes competed under the USSR banner until Lithuania regained its independence in 1990. Lithuania returned to the Olympics as an independent nation in 1992 and has competed ever since. As an independent nation Lithuania has won a total of 21 medals with athletics and modern pentathlon accounting for the largest share. In 2012 Lithuania won five medals including 2 golds. The nation will be looking for a similar performance where medal prospects spread across multiple sports.

One of the most talked about teams within Lithuania is the men’s basketball team. After a relatively disappointing quarter-final finish at the 2012 Olympics Lithuania will be looking to reach the medal rounds at this Olympics in hopes of winning their fourth medal. Appearing in their seventh Olympics as an independent nation the team has improved since those games and is currently ranked third in the world. They have more recently finished fourth at the 2014 World Cup and won the silver medal at both of the 2013 and 2015 EuroBasket.

Another medal hopeful for Lithuania will be in the modern pentathlon. Laura Asadauskaite will be competing in her third Olympics and will be defending her gold medal won in 2012. She is the 2015 European champion and also won the gold medal at the 2015 World Cup Final event. She will be joined by Ieva Serapinaite in the women’s race while 2012 Olympian Justinas Kinderis will compete in the men’s race.

The swimming team will be led by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ruta Meilutyte whom will compete in her signature event, the women’s 100m breaststroke. Meilutyte became the youngest Lithuanian Olympic gold medalist at the age of 15. Since then she has won gold at the 2014 Youth Olympics, silver at the 2015 World Championship and gold at the 2016 European Championship. On the men’s side 2016 European Championship bronze medalist Giedrius Titenis will compete in his third Olympics in the men’s 100m and 200m breaststroke. Danas Rapsys, also a bronze medalist at the 2016 European Championship will compete in the men’s 200m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke. Simonas Bilis will compete in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle and Andrius Sidlauskas will compete in the men’s 100m breaststroke. The men’s side will also enter a 4x100m medley relay where Bilis, Deividas Margevicius, Rapsys and Titenis will compete

Rowing will also be seen as a potential medal prospect for Lithuania. The team will be led by the men’s double sculls boat of Rolandas Mascinskas and Saulius Ritter. The pair will compete together for their second Olympics and are the 2015 World Championship silver medalist. Also a medal threat is 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Mindaugas Griskonis whom will compete in his third Olympics in the men’s single sculls. 2012 Olympian Donata Vistartaite has moved from the women’s singles sculls to the double sculls, partnering with Milda Valciukaite. Together the women won gold at the 2013 World Championship. Other boats which will represent Lithuania include Lina Saltyte in the women’s single sculls and the men’s quadruple sculls boat which include Aurimas Adomavicius, Martynas Dziaugys, Zygimantas Galisanskis and Dominykas Jancionis.

While Lithuania will be sending a small boxing team both athletes will be looking to go far in their respective events. 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2015 European Championship bronze medalist Evaldas Petrauskas will compete in the men’s light welterweight. Joining him is 2015 European Championship gold medalist Eimantas Stanionis in the men’s welterweight.

Lithuania will be sending a decently large athletics team. In the road events several athletes will be making their return. In the women’s 20km walk 2012 Olympians Neringa Aidietyte and Brigita Virbalyte-Dimsiene will compete with Zivile Vaiciukeviciute. Marius Ziukas will compete in his third Olympics in the men’s 20km walk along with Marius Savelskis. Also competing in his third Olympics is Tadas Suskevicius whom will compete with Arturas Mastianica in the men’s 50km walk. The women’s marathon will consist of Rasa Drazdauskaite, Diana Lobacevske and Vaida Zusinaite. Drazdauskaite will compete in her third Olympics while Lobacevske will compete in her second. The men’s marathon will be ran by Valdes Dopolskas and Remigijus Kancys.

In the track and field portions of athletics Zinaida Sendriute will compete in her third Olympics in the women’s discus throw. Other returning Olympians include 2012 Olympians Airine Palsyte, gold medalist at the 2015 Universiade Games in the women’s high jump. Also returning for her second Olympics after missing out in 2012 is 2008 Olympian Egle Balciunaite whom will compete in the women’s 800m. Rounding out the team is Andrius Gudzius whom will compete in the men’s discus.

Lithuania will be sending four boats to compete in sprint canoeing. 2015 European Games gold medalist Henrikas Zustautas will represent the team in the men’s C1 200m. Also competing are 2015 European Championship bronze medalists Ignas Navakauskas in the men’s K1 200m and the men’s K2 200m boat consisting of Aurimas Lankas and Edvinas Ramanauskas. Rounding out the team are Ricardas Nekriosius and Andrej Olijnik in the men’s K2 1000m boat.

The cycling team will be led by veteran Simona Krupeckaite whom will compete in her fourth Olympics in the women’s sprint and keirin. On the road the team will be led by 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Ramunas Navardauskas whom will compete in his second Olympics in the men’s road race. Also competing in the event is Ignatas Konovalovas whom will compete in his third Olympics (2004, 2008). Daiva Tuslaite will compete in the women’s road race.

Other athletes to look out for include 2014 Weightlifting World Championship bronze medalist Aurimas Didzbalis (men’s -94kg) and 2014 Wrestling World Championship bronze medalist and 2012 Olympian Edgaras Venckaitis (men’s Greco-Roman -66kg).

Other returning Olympians include 2012 Olympian Juozas Bernotas (sailing, men’s RS:X) and 2008 Olympic silver medalist and 2012 Olympian Gintare Scheidt (sailing, women’s laser radial).

Other sports Lithuania will compete in include; artistic gymnastics (Robert Tvorogal, men’s events), judo (Santa Pakenyte, women’s +78kg), shooting (Ronaldas Racinskas, men’s skeet) and tennis (Ricardas Berankis, men’s singles).

Overall Lithuania will compete with 67 athletes in 15 sports. This will be their second largest group heading into the Olympics. Unlike some nations Lithuania’s medal chances are over a number of sports, including, but not limited to; basketball, modern pentathlon, rowing and swimming.

Golf: IGF Confirms Field After Late Changes

The International Golf Federation has announced an updated list of qualified athletes. Some quotas where denied by their federation while others were due to later withdrawals. In total three men and three women have been replaced.

On the women’s side the Netherlands declined both of their quotas while New Zealand also declined Cathryn Bristow’s quota. During the reallocation process Philippines’ Dottie Ardina withdrew. The three reallocated quotas went to Victoria Lovelady (Brazil), Stephanie Meadow (Ireland) and Maha Haddioui (Morocco)

On the men’s side Camilo Villegas (Colombia), Francesco Molinari (Italy) and Angelo Que (Philippines) withdrew and have been replaced by Matteo Manassero (Italy), Rodolfo Cazaubon (Mexico) and Jose-Filipe Lima (Portugal).

 

Net Changes by Nations

  • Brazil – 1
  • Ireland – 1
  • Mexico – 1
  • Morocco – 1
  • Portugal – 1
  • Italy – 0
  • Colombia – -1
  • New Zealand – -1
  • Philippines – -1
  • Netherlands – -2

 

References

Tennis: Athlete List Updated After Withdrawals

After a number of late withdrawals the International Tennis Federation has announced an updated list of qualified athletes. In total three men and three women withdrew and have been replaced.

For the men Milos Raonic (Canada), Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) and Richard Gasquet (France) have withdrawn and Jordan Thompson (Australia), Benoit Paire (France) and Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia) have replaced them. For the women Victoria Azarenka (Belarus), Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) and Simona Halep (Romania) have withdrawn and Mariana Duque-Marino (Colombia), Ana Konjuh (Croatia) and Cagla Buyukakcay (Turkey) have replaced them.

Due to these changes a number of doubles partners have changed. In the men’s doubles Daniel Nestor, whom has been added and Vasek Pospisil (Canada), Lukas Rosol and Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) and Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) will compete together. Also the Czech Republic will only send one doubles team meaning Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and Miguel Angel Reyes Varela will compete in the event. For the women’s doubles only the Czech Republic contain a change with Lucie Safarova partnering up with Barbora Strycova.

 

Net Athlete Changes by Nations

  • Mexico – 2
  • Australia – 1
  • Colombia -1
  • Croatia – 1
  • Russia – 1
  • Turkey – 1
  • Canada – 0
  • France – 0
  • Belarus – -1
  • Romania – -1
  • Czech Republic – -2

 

References

Athletics: Relay Nations Qualified By Aggregate Times Revealed

The final relays in athletics have been revealed by the IAAF. Of the nations which have yet to qualify, they are ranked by the aggregate times of their best two performances over the qualification period. The top eight nations from each relay event qualify to the Olympics. The relay times can only be performed in approved events ranging from May 1st 2015 to June 11th 2016.

For the men’s relays the nations which qualified in the 4x100m are China, Canada, Antigua and Barbuda, Great Britain, Netherlands, Turkey, Dominican Republic and Cuba. The nations which qualified in the 4x400m are Cuba, France, Russia, Dominican Republic, Poland, Colombia, India and Venezuela.

For the women’s relays the nations which qualified in the 4x100m are Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, France and Ghana. The nations which qualified in the 4x400m are Nigeria, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Germany, India, Romania and Netherlands.

While Russia is listed in the rankings their participation is conditional on the CAS ruling. Should Russia remain banned in athletics the relays will be reallocated to the next highest ranked nation, specifically Japan (men’s 4x400m), Poland (women’s 4x100m) and Bahamas (women’s 4x400m).

 

Quotas by Nations

  • Netherlands – 3
  • Russia – 3
  • China – 2
  • Cuba – 2
  • Dominican Republic – 2
  • France – 2
  • Germany – 2
  • India – 2
  • Ukraine -2
  • Antigua and Barbuda – 1
  • Canada – 1
  • Colombia – 1
  • Ghana – 1
  • Great Britain – 1
  • Italy – 1
  • Kazakhstan – 1
  • Nigeria – 1
  • Poland – 1
  • Romania – 1
  • Turkey – 1
  • Venezuela – 1

 

References