Cuba Women's Baseball on the rise

Cuba Women's Baseball on the rise
30/03/2022
The women's programme, ranked seventh in the world, surpassed the men's programme, currently at No.9, for the first time in 2021.

The Cuban Baseball National Team has been the strongest power on the international stage for decades. Cuba won three Olympic gold medals, 25 Baseball World Cups, 13 Intercontinental Cups, 16 Pan American Games throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. However the programme has been on a recent decline.

Cuba was the only country to have made the gold-medal final in all five Olympic tournaments, from 1992 to 2008, winning three gold and two silver medals before failing to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and is currently No. 9 in the WBSC Men's Baseball World Rankings, having dropped to 11 in the middle of last year.

The women's baseball programme, however, is on the contrary, on the rise and currently ranked No. 7, it's equal best position, in the WBSC Women's Baseball World Rankings .

Cuba World Ranking 2012-2021

Women started practising baseball in Cuba in the 1940s. Mirta Marrero and Luisa Gallego were part of a team called Las Aguilas. Pioneers founded a women's baseball governing body (Organización Deportiva de Béisbol Femenino) in 1947, but the organization doesn't exist anymore.

In the 1960s, Vilma Espin, the president of the Cuban Women Federation (FMC, Federación de Mujeres Cubanas), helped women's baseball develop further.

Margarita Virgen Mayeta Hierrezuelo (pictured) is today in charge of women's baseball in Cuba. She told Bohemia journalist Ernesto V. Fernandez that 2003 marked a milestone for women's baseball on the island. The Cuban Baseball Federation and FMC partnered to organize a women's baseball tournament that served to select the first-ever National Team.

Cuba made its debut on the women's baseball international scene with a couple of friendly games against Canada in 2005. This led to the II WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup participation.

Cuba's best international result in women's baseball is a bronze medal at the first Pan American Women's Baseball Championship in 2009 in Venezuela.

The National Team participated for the first time in the Women's Baseball World Cup in the second edition (Taipei 2006) and finished sixth. They participated in four more editions where Cuba finished sixth in 2010 in Venezuela, seventh in 2012 in Canada, eighth in 2016 in Korea and 2018 in the United States.

They had qualified for the Women's Baseball World Cup 2020 through the Pan American Championship 2019. The tournament was cancelled amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The next edition of the Women's Baseball World Cup is scheduled for 2024. Cuba will participate in the Americas Qualifier this summer. Mayeta told Bohemia that the Women's National Team's current selection includes 20 players from nine Provinces. They will compete in the Caribbean Women's Baseball Cup in May.

The regional qualifiers to the National Championship are scheduled for June. The finals are scheduled for July.

Women's Baseball activity in 2022 in Cuba includes seven youth events, a tournament dedicated to the memories of Higinio Velez and Ernesto Reynoso to be played in May and the 23 August Cup dedicated to the FMC anniversary.