Juantorena: "I have dreamt of the Olympics since I was a kid"


Osmany Juantorena scored 25 points in the win over Poland

Tokyo, September 23, 2015 - Italian star Osmany Juantorena said he has dreamed of playing in the Olympics since he was a child, and that dream became a reality as his side booked their place at the Rio 2016 Games.

Italy coach Gian Lorenzo Blengini: "Like the players I am very happy. I would like to thank the players for their spirit. I want to thank all the team including those who did not come to Japan. I thank the staff. I should be tired, but I'm not. The one reason for the victory today was spirit. The players executed their skills at their best. We tried to take as many sideouts as we could. We improved during training and the tournament."

Poland coach Stephane Antiga: "It was a very difficult match. They played better. We had our chances in the first set and third sets. Italy was better than us today. This was a tough competition because only two teams can qualify for the Olympics. My team prepared well. We blocked badly tonight. They have two good spikers in Juantorena and Zaytsev and they are tough to stop. This was a different team after the World Championships and presented a new challenge."

Italy captain Simone Buti: "It was a tough match. I can't believe what is happening. I don't know what to say. I tried to organise in my mind what I needed to do and how we should play and my teammates came through. I wanted to bring my country to the Olympics and we have done that."

Italy player Osmany Juantorena: "I can't believe this victory. We were a new team and played well. We concentrated both in practice and throughout the tournament. My compliments to the staff, trainers and captain Buti. It was a team effort. Our goal was to qualify, so I am happy for this achievement. I have been dreaming about playing in the Olympics since I was a kid."

Italy player Simone Giannelli: "It's incredible. I'm very happy for the victory. Thanks to everyone. Our goal was to qualify for Rio and we have, so I am happy. I have had a good experience at this tournament."

Poland captain Michal Kubiak: "I will take the blame for this loss. When it was 23-20 in the first set I made a bad decision and after that we struggled. Congratulations to Italy. They played well and have qualified. We hope to qualify in another competition."


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