Sports

History of Dominican Baseball

Baseball began in the Dominican Republic at the end of the 19th century.  There is no consensus as to the exact date, but we know that in the last decade of the century, small groups practiced the sport.

The first formally established team was Ozama, which was quickly followed by other squads.  The popularity of the sport grew quickly, as the people saw it as a way to release the frustrations caused by the political and economic conflicts that left the country in constant instability.

In the early 20s, other countries began to recognize the value of Dominican players.  In 1922, the pitcher Baldomero Ureña (Mero) was hired by the Ponce de Puerto Rico team and in 1925, he became the first Dominican ballplayer to be drafted by a U.S. team: Allentown.  Other baseball players also began to join foreign leagues, especially in Puerto Rico and Venezuela, and stellar players from Cuba and Puerto Rico arrived to participate in national Dominican championships.  The quantity, quality and high cost of imported players (especially from Cuba) in the national series of ’29 gave it the name “the luxury championship”.

Another national series was not held until 1936, after the expenditure of ’29.  Its re-implementation came from the hand of Trujillo, who used the sporting event for his ends of manipulation, power and personal glorification.  Consequently, he spared no expense in 1937 in bringing the best players from the U.S. Negro players league.  The monetary investment was so great that the country would remain without professional baseball for 14 years as it recovered.

In the 50s, upon reestablishing and reinforcing national championships, the first Dominicans debuted in the U.S. major leagues.  In 1956, Osvaldo Virgil inaugurated a tradition that continued to grow over time.  Along with him, Felipe and Mateo Rojas Alou, Juan Marichal, Julián Javier, Ruddy Hernández and Guayubín Olivo compose the group of national pioneers that helped to open the door for Dominicans in U.S. professional baseball.

Today, more than 385 Dominican players have participated in the major leagues.  One of these, Juan Marichal, has entered the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  Two others, Felipe Rojas Alou and Tony Peña, have coached teams; many others have received awards and recognition for their excellent performance.  It is no accident that the professional ballplayer with the most lucrative contract in the history of the major leagues is the son of Dominicans immigrants to the United States.

 

Enthusiasm for baseball

It is known that precisely on June 17, 1898, the Base-Ball Club was founded in Santo Domingo, whose honorary president was the manager of the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana, the national beer producer, William Orr.  The club quickly began to expand to other towns.  In fact, the three communities of Santiago, San Pedro de Macorís and La Vega argue over the origin of organized baseball in the country.  From its beginning, the game became very popular.  In the capital, in the period from 1894 to 1910, at least two large spaces were set aside for its practice, the one on the outskirts of the city named “la Sabana del Estado” and the urban field named Plaza Colombina.  Later, in the second decade of the 20th century, others appeared: the so-called “Patio de los Baéz” a group of lots located between the streets Padre Billini and Arzobispo Portes; also El Gimnasio Escolar (1911) and Licey Park, in Villa Francisca, opened October 4, 1914.

The first team recorded in existence is Ozama.  In order to compete with this team, the Licey team was founded (November 7, 1907), which to this day is the team with the greatest tradition and influence in the history of Dominican baseball.  It was the time of the growth of the sugar industry and its foreign capital; the time of the negotiation of payment to the immense international companies that were being pressed by U.S. creditors; the time of the expropriation of national customs offices and the time of high political instability that occurs with governments lacking control.  Perhaps as a consequence of such confusion, the public followed the sport more and more, as various other groups emerged throughout the country.  Though these groups were generally quite ephemeral, the following teams stand out: In Santo Domingo, Casino, Santo Domingo, Receptoria, Gimnasio Escolar (it barely lasted a year), Nuevo Club (1911) the team of the Escuela de Agricultura, the team of the Escuela Normal (teachers’ college), those of educational establishments, such as Trinitaria and Duarte, San Carlos, Columbia and Patria, Legalista (1914) and Herold (1914); in Santiago, Yaque and el Inoa (1912); Unión de Azua (1910); and Macoris of San Pedro de Macorís (1910).

In a historic national moment, the first national championships were held (1911).  In 1912, foreign players were hired for the first time to reinforce local teams (Licey imported Cuban players to the national championship for that year).  In 1913, the first international series was held on Dominican soil, with the national team (“Escogido Dominicano”) facing off against the Ponce de Puerto Rico team.  An illustrated magazine was even published dedicated exclusively to this baseball event titled La Pelotaand edited by Luis Eduardo Betances (1913).  Games series and local and national championships had massive attendance and were filled with music and joyful celebrations of the fans for the victory of their team.  The sport was also included in the national Olympic games though it had not yet entered the world Olympics (1915).  All of these moments demonstrate the effervescence that the game provokes in the Dominican spirit.
It is clear that the politicians of this era were conscious of the popularity of the game.  At the opening of Licey Park, the first pitch was thrown by the then president of the Republic,  Dr. Ramon Baéz (1914).  In 1913, the U.S. vice-consul in the country, Mr. Bohr, acted as referee in a game between Nuevo Club and Licey.  In the same year, the U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic mentioned to the U.S. Secretary of State, among other points, that the importance of the popularity of baseball in the DR should not be minimized, as it could serve as “a real substitute for the excitement of revolutions”, (Naboth’s Vineyard, Sumner Welles, Vol.II, p.722, Savile Books, 1966).

 

Baseball and the U.S. intervention

From the beginning, Dominicans saw the playing field as a stage for liberation and victory when the battles of daily life seemed to continually be lost.  During the U.S. intervention (1916-1924), in addition to the semi-anarchical front that the guerrillas, in the mountains or the more civic resistance formed by intellectuals (based on principle, in order to lend credibility to their protest), baseball became the means by which the population coped, though minimally, with their frustrations toward the foreign invader.  The games between Dominican teams and groups composed of U.S. marines or military men were true patriotic displays in defense of Dominican dignity.  Strong local teams formed for this purpose, one of which, “El Escogido” (1921) was a product of a triple alliance between the groups Delco Light, Los Muchachos and San Carlos.  The press trumpeted each victory won by national teams, which were the majority.  After a noted Licey victory over a team of Marines, one journalist said “The U.S.M.C. teams will not win even one baseball challenge here, as they are simply inferior to our players.  The physical fitness of our under-fed boys is superior to that of the chubby, ruddy-faced whites.

Long before the intervention, games had been held between local teams and groups from American boats that dropped anchor on the coasts of the country.  It was precisely in one of these games, on September 20, 1914, between the Nuevo Club and the sailors of the battleship Washington, that the Dominican pitcher Indio Bravo (Enrique Hernández) threw the first no-hitter in the history of Dominican baseball, striking out 21 players and allowing only one, on an error, to get to first.

 

The internationalization of Dominican baseball

The worth of Dominican players had to be recognized.  In 1922, a national team traveled abroad to play for the first time.  Licey, reinforced with players from other teams and carrying the name “Estrellas Dominicanas”, went to play in Puerto Rico.  There they won 6 of 11 encounters.  Due to their brilliant game, the players began to be drafted by teams from neighboring countries a year later.  The first was the Licey pitcher Baldomero Ureña (Mero), who was signed by the Ponce team of Puerto Rico.  Various others followed immediately, also hired to play in Puerto Rico: Ninín, Ernesto Sánchez, Mateo de la Rosa, Guagua Vargas, Fellito Guerra and the famous Tetelo Vargas.  The latter was 17 years old when he was drafted by the Humacao Starts.  It should be added that, in 1925, Baldomero Ureña (Mero) became the first Dominican called to play on a U.S. team, Allentown.

In the following years, the participation of national players in foreign leagues, as well as the participation of foreign players in local leagues, intensified.  The national championship of 1929 is specifically remembered as “the luxury championship”, for the large number of imported ballplayers (from Cuba and Puerto Rico) that were paid incredibly high salaries.  The participation of Dominicans was minimal.  It was said of Escogido, for example, that “it was a Cuban team reinforced by the incredible Tetelo Vargas”.  The expense was so burdensome for the country’s economy that until 1936, no national series were held, which caused many of the professional players to go to Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the United States.  In the last season of the 20s, the teams Licey, Escogido and Sandino (founded in 1928 in Santiago), which the Santo Domingo press called “the Águilas Cibaeñas”, competed.

 

Trujillo and baseball

The first period of the Trujillo dictatorship was rocky for professional baseball.  The economic hangover from the luxury championship of ’29 and the Cyclone San Zenón that destroyed the country and the baseball stadiums of the capital (the Gimnasio Escolar and the hippodrome La Primavera) affected the performance of the teams.  Still, Trujillo immediately took this sporting activity as one of his tools of power, manipulation and personal glorification on a local and international level.

One of his first measures was the formation of the General Trujillo team, which in 1931 began a tour of Latin America.  The team visited Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Nicaragua and Mexico in a journey that was extended due to the fact that a scam left the group without money to return when planned.  Two of the players (Ninín and Titico) had to work in Cartagena to pay for the tickets.

All of the national championships held during the course of the dictatorship were titled with some direct reference to Trujillo and his family.  In 1936, the year in which the series was reestablished, it was named “Certamen Mayor Trujillo” and the teams competed for the Copa Julia Molina.  There were names like “Reelección Presidente Trujillo” in 1931; “Campeonato Era de Trujillo” in 1951; “Pro Elección del General Héctor B. Trujillo Molinas” (1952); “Leonidas Radhamés” (1953); “Campeonato Benefactor” (1954); “Campeonato Padre de la Patria” (1955-1956); “Campeonato Reelección Presidente Trujillo” (1956-57); “Campeonato Leonidas Radhamés” (1957-58); and “Campeonato 24 de Octubre”, as Trujillo was born October 24, 1891, (1959-60).

The Championship of ‘37

The national championship of 1937 was famous for the quantity and quality of foreign players hired and the quantity of money shelled out to pay them.  Given that the crown of the season before had stayed with the Estrellas Orientales de San Pedro de Macorís team, Trujillo unified the teams of the capital and created the “Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo” (March 4, 1937), which featured the best foreign players he could get.

The order was to win no matter what.  This team and other rivals were reinforced with stellar players from the U.S. Negro leagues and Cubans, among them Statchel Paige, George Scales, Martín Dihigo, Clyde Spearman, David Thomas, Lázaro Salazar, Santos Amaro, Cocaína García, Ramón Bragaña, William Perkins, Silvio García, Rodolfo Fernández, Chester Brewer, Ernest Carter, Josh Gibson, Harry Williams, Leroy Madlock, James Bell, Sammy Bankhead and Eustaquio Gutiérrez (Cuban umpire).

The average salary of these imported players was $150 pesos monthly, Dominicans only received $24 pesos per month, though it eventually rose to much more.  Martín Dihigo and Josh Gibson were paid $2,500 pesos for five weeks of playing two games per week, while eight players made a sum of $30 thousand dollars for the Dragones Ciudad Trujillo.  As Dr. Joseph Arbena affirms, one of the consequences of these types of measures taken or encouraged by the Dictatorship was that it made the Dominican Republic, before any other country (including the United States), into the country where ballplayers, separated in their countries, came together to play, including whites, blacks, mulattos, mestizos, Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and North Americans.

The search for baseball players for the championship of ’37 started a scandal in the United Status and resulted in a diplomatic impasse between the two countries.  By virtue of the fact that the salaries offered in the Dominican Republic were much higher than those offered in the neighboring nation, the players did not hesitate to accept, which made the directors of the Pittsburg Crawfords and Homestead Grays accuse a Dominican agent and the consul accompanying him of trying to steal their players, throwing them both in prison.  The Dominican Government and Chancellery had to intervene; they bought the freedom of the two men for a $500 fine.

The U.S. players that decided to come to the Dominican Republic were expelled from the Negro Baseball League for abandoning their teams.  Statchel Paige, one of those expelled, created his own club called the Trujillo All-Starts, which eventually won the Denver Post tournament.

In spite of the players at his disposal, it was not without difficulty that the Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo won the victory in the series.  The management of the team even brought in a voodoo priest from Haiti to “help” them win.

 

Amateur Baseball during the Dictatorship

The investment of economic resources in the championship of ’37 was enormous and again the country was forced lose professional baseball again for 14 years, until 1951.  That period was characterized by the strengthening of amateur baseball.  It is calculated that in 1944, between Saturday and Sunday, there were more than 15 games played in the capital, with the participation of around 30 teams and more than 350 ballplayers.  In addition, two new spaces for games were opened, Molinuelo Park (1943) and the Hipódromo Perla Antiallana (1944).  All of these activities allowed the Dominican Republic, in 1948, to win the world amateur baseball championship, held in Colombia.

The members of one of the teams from Santiago died in what was considered one of the greatest tragedies of Dominican sports.  They returned to their city by plane after playing two games in the city of Barahona.  The aircraft crashed due to bad weather.  32 passengers died, among them 18 players.

The lethargy of professional practice was not an impediment for our best players to continue gaining recognition abroad and for visits to continue from foreign players and teams.  In fact, February 29, 1948, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Montreal Royals arrived in Santo Domingo to hold their spring training.  With them, the star Jackie Robinson arrived, who, two years earlier, had moved into the major leagues, becoming the first black man to do so.

 

Dominican professional baseball team

Tigres del Licey
Founded on 1907
Quisqueya Stadium
Tel: (809) 566-3261, (809) 567-3090
http://www.licey.com

Aguilas Cibaeñas
Founded on 1937
Cibao Stadium
Tel: (809) 575-4310, (809) 575-1810, (809) 575-8250
http://aguilas.lidom.com/home/

Leones del Escogido
Founded on 1921
Quisqueya Stadium
Tel: (809) 565-1910
http://www.escogido.com
http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/roster.jsp?sid=l132&t=t_ros&cid=671

Estrellas Orientales
Founded on 1911
Tetelo Vargas Stadium
Tel: (809) 529-3618
http://www.estrellasorientales.com.do/

Azucareros del Este
Founded on 1983
Francisco Micheli Stadium
Tel: (809) 556-6188, (809) 556-6189
http://lostorosdeleste.com/

Gigantes del Cibao
Founded on 1997
Julian Javier Stadium
Tel: (809) 566-4882, (809) 588-8882, (809) 588-8854
http://gigantessfm.com/

 

 

Golf

Manzanillo, a port located in the northeast of the Dominican Republic, and Montellano, a sugar refinery located in the south, were witnesses, among other areas, to the first golfing challenges in the country.  U.S. company executives placed in various Dominican economic enclaves brought a passion for the sport to the country in the first decades of the 20th century.

The sport soon won over the youth that came into contact with the small greens constructed to stave off the boredom of executives that had few options for amusement in a country that barely appeared on the economic map of the Caribbean.

In Santo Domingo, a private club, the Santo Domingo Country Club, almost single-handedly began the practice of the sport that throughout decades had been limited to an economic elite that saw the discipline as a motive for meeting and relaxation, while serving as a vehicle for integration with Caribbean neighbors that competed in periodical tournaments.

The construction of Casa de Campo, resort located in the province of La Romana, at the beginning of the 70s, began an enhanced stage of the sport through the development of the tourist industry in the immense resort.  Two greens designed by Pete Dye in the hotel resort put the country on an exclusive global list.  The “Diente de Perro” became, and still is, one of the top 20 golf greens in the world.

On the northern coast of the country, two other greens, constructed with public monies, offer quality and quantity at a reduced price.  In Puerto Plata, next to the Playa Dorada resort, operations for a green with the same name have begun, constructed by the lauded Robert Trent Jones.  And a few kilometers away, in Río San Juan, 18 holes were constructed; and the Playa Grande green has 10 holes at the seashore.

However, it was not until the 90s that golf tourism exploded.  From Juan Dolio and La Romana, passing Bayahibe, Bávaro and Punta Cana, to Samaná, the construction of golf greens continues without pause.

Other designers of great prestige arrive to the country to create greens of impressive design.  Among them, Gary Player, with his company Gary Player Design, designed and constructed Guayaberry Golf & Country Club, in Juan Dolio.  Next, Jack Nicklaus invested in the country through his ambitious project Cap Cana, on the eastern coast of the country, where he constructed Golden Bear Lodge and built three impressive golf courses.

The famous golfer and course designer, Nick Faldo, also constructed the golf course of the Roco Ki resort in Punta Macao, on the eastern coast of the country, with the goal of finishing it in winter 2006.  It already promises an exceptional course for the Caribbean region.

Currently, only in the area that borders La Romana, Bayahibe and Punta Cana, Bávaro and Macao, there are 13 golf courses in operation.  The majority of the new courses have been constructed as a part of large projects, including the construction of villas.

In Punta Cana, the resort of the same name features the famous Spanish singer Julio Iglesias and the well-known Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta, and, as icing on the cake of this already developed resort, an accredited golf course.

A local federation, the Federación Dominicana de Golf, allows local aficionados to keep up their golf with reputable tournaments that follow international regulations.  Affiliation to this institution guarantees benefits for golf lovers and has contributed to making the sport less and less elitist.

For more information:
www.fedogolf.org.do
www.golfdominicano.com
www.gfddgolf.org

 

 

Track and Field

Track and field originated in the Dominican Republic in 1946, when the country participated in the Fifth Central American and Caribbean Games, held in Barranquilla, Colombia.

At the time, the Dominican retinue was composed of 10 people: eight athletes, one trainer and one delegate.

The athletes who participated in these games were Elpidio Jiménez, Alejandro Quírico, Bienvenido Abreu, Antonio Lora, Moisés Cohen, Texido Domingo Pichardo, Angel María Acosta y Angel María Mezquita.  Jaime Díaz was the trainer and Braulio Méndez, the delegate.

The Federación Nacional de Atletismo (National Federation of Track and Field) was created March 21, 1953 with the objective of participating in the Seventh Central American and Caribbean Sporting Games that were to be held in Mexico the following year.

The Dominican Republic has participated in the following Central American and Caribbean Games

  • Barranquilla, Colombia, 1946
  • Mexico City, Mexico, 1954
  • Kingston, Jamaica, 1962
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1966
  • Panama City, Panama, 1970
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1974
  • Medellin, Colombia, 1978
  • Bahamas, 1986
  • Mexico City, Mexico, 1990
  • Ponce, Puerto Rico, 1993
  • Maracaibo, Venezuela, 1998
  • San Salvador, El Salvador, 2002

The Dominican Republic has participated in the following Pan American Games

  • Mexico City, Mexico, 1955
  • Chicago, United States, 1959
  • Cali, Colombia, 1971
  • Mexico City, Mexico, 1975
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1979
  • Caracas, Venezuela, 1983
  • Indianapolis, USA, 1987
  • Mar del Plata, Argentina, 1995
  • Winnipeg, Canada, 1999
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2003

Olympic Games

  • Tokyo, Japan, 1964
  • Mexico City, Mexico, 1980
  • Los Angeles, United States, 1984
  • Atlanta, United States, 1996
  • Sydney, Australia, 2000
  • Athens, Greece, 2004

Did you know? At the Olympics in Greece, Félix Sánchez won the first gold medal for the Dominican Republic in the 400 meter hurdles.

 

High performance athletes

Félix Sánchez (runner) was born in New York, but is the son of Dominicans that emigrated to the United States. The current Olympic champion in the 400 meter hurdles decided to represent the Dominican Republic when he finished in sixth place in the qualifying rounds in the United States in 1999, which prevented him from gaining a spot on the team for the World Championships in Spain.

El actual campeón Olímpico de los 400 metros con vallas decidió representar a República Dominicana cuando finalizó en el sexto lugar en las clasificatorias de Estados Unidos en el año 1999, lo que le impidió ganar la plaza para el Mundial de Sevilla.

Sánchez broke the United States’ winning streak of two decades, which began with Edwin Moses’s win in the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

The athlete was undefeated from 2001, but finally lost in the penultimate competition of the European Golden League in 2004 after suffering a left knee sprain 200 meters from the finish line.

His streak was 43 consecutive victories.

The Dominican also won world titles in track in 2001 and 2003.

Juana Arredenel (jumper) was born September 26, 1978 to Pedro Rosario and Argentina Arrendel. Arrendel was discovered in the San Pedro de Macorís sports complex by Coach Luciano Alvarez, who saw in the 14 year old all of the qualities necessary to win in track and field, in the high jump.

Despite having little experience in the high jump, Arrendel represented Sultana del Estein the National Games in San Juan ’92 and won her first medal.  The jumper was one of the privileged students of the Academia Nacional de Atletismo, created in 1993 and directed by the Cuban Bernardo Clark.

Wanda Rijo (weightlifter) was born November 26, 1976 in San Pedro de Macorís. She took her first steps in weightlifting in 1997 in her hometown and her first competitions were at the National Games in Mao, Valverde.

After that, she entered the PARNI program, which was then coached by the current Secretary of Sports, Felipe Payano.

Shortly after, Rijo joined the National Weightlifting team and participated in her first international event.

The Dominican took home the gold medal by lifting 75 kilos in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Maracaibo, Venezuela, 1998.

One year later, she participated in the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, where she faced weightlifters from 42 countries.

Rijo remained among the top 10 weightlifters in the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

She won the gold medal at the Pan-American Games 2003, held in the Dominican Republic.

 

Basketball

The official story attributes the introduction of basketball in the Dominican Republic to a Puerto Rican, Alfonso “Filo” Paniagua, in 1927.  An enthusiastic athlete in his student years, he obtained residence in the country and set about popularizing the sport.  He created two teams, the Ases and the Hindú.

Decades later, the sports link between Dominicans and Puerto Ricans allowed basketball to improve in the country by integrating youth of varying ages, from the neighborhoods of the capital and the interior of the country, into organized practice of the game.

Years later, a generation of Dominicans was ready to face daunting challenges from the two countries with the greatest traditions in the sport of basketball: Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The history of the Federación Dominicana de Baloncesto, the body that rules the practice of the sport in the country, states that various cities dispute the honor of hosting the first basketball game in the country.

One version says that the first game was held the night of May 29, 1915 in the recreation center of the city of Santiago de los Caballeros.  El Diario, a newspaper of the day, mentions the game, according to the Federación.  The Azules and the Colorados faced each other that night.

The paper did not refer to the winner of the game, but it did state that there was a dance for the players after the game ended.

From then on, with highs and lows, the development of basketball has offered the country multiple regional and continental triumphs and has also allowed youth that have risen to great heights in the country to be placed in professional competitions in the United States.

Basketball Curiosities

  • In 1977, Panama hosted Centrobasket and the Dominican mens team won the gold medal for the first time in its history.  Aldo Leschorn, Francisco Prats and Vinicio Muñoz are some of the spectacular players that obtained the win.
  • In 1978, the Dominican team took home the bronze medal from the Central American and Caribbean Sporting Games, held in Colombia.
  • In the following years, the streak did not continue, though the country’s passion for the discipline carried on.
  • The night of August 26, 1988, Alfred “Tito” Horford achieved the first and the only triple-double recorded in the history of national basketball after making 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in a triumph over the Pueblo Nuevo team of Santiago.
  •  “After the national team’s absence from the medal platform in regional championships for 17 years (1978-1995), the new generation has obtained recognition in all regional competitions except for Centrobasket 2001, which demonstrates advances attained in the discipline of basketball.”  (Diario Libre, January 2002)
  • In 2002, the Dominican team won fifth place in the Premundial de Basket Juvenil, a regional basketball competition for youth, held in Uruguay.
  • Also in 2002, the celebration of the Torneo de Baloncesto Superior del Distrito Nacional, was reinitiated, as it was suspended in 2001 after incidents on the grounds of the game and disputes between the organizers of the competitions halted the tournament, which for more than 20 years had been a strong motive for basketball in the Dominican capital.
  • In the interior of the country, the basketball tradition grew without limits: tournaments by zone were one of the principal sources of entertainment for the youth of the municipalities of the country.
  • The international development of local basketball became clear, due to clashes in the realm of the regulatory entities of the sport.
  • Hugo Cabrera was the first Dominican to practice in the NBA when in 1976, the Milwaukee Bucks chose him in the tenth round of the draft from the University of East Texas, but he did not make the team.  In 1984, the San Antonion Spurs chose Frank Rodríguez (University of New Mexico) in the tenth round, but he did not make the team.
  • In 1988, the Bucks chose Tito Horford (University of Miami) in the second round and he became the first Dominican to play in the NBA.  In the same year, Dallas chose José “Grillo” Vargas (Louisiana State), but he opted to go to Europe.
  • Other Dominicans that have played in the NBA include Jaime Petterson (2001) and Ricky Greer (2002).
  • In February 2003, the Listín Diario affirmed “For the first time in history, there are three Dominicans playing on the basketball team of a top university in the United States:  Eulis Baez, Junior Matías and Carlos Morbán, members of the Florida International team, which participates in the NCAA tournament.
  • The international brilliance of the local basketball players was highlighted in the Hoy newspaper in 2003, when it mentioned “Luis Flores, who plays for Maniatan College and is the best scorer in the NCAA, while Francisco García is the star of the University of Louisville.  Charlie Villanueva also stands out at the University of Connecticut.
  • October 25, 2004, the Diario Libre affirmed, “With the stats of Luis Felipe López for the Dallas Mavericks, the Dominican Republic for the first time has two basketball players in the NBA.  López, who came out of St. John’s University in 1998, returns to the courts after two years of absence due to a tear in his left knee.  He joins Luis Flores, who is fighting to become the third guard of the Golden State Warriors for Dominican representation in the prestigious league.
  • June 25, 2005, the Dominicans Charlie Villanueva, the star of the University of Connecticut, and Francisco Garcia, from the University of Louisville, again made history after being selected in the first round of the NBA draft.  Villanueva was selected as number seven for the Toronto Raptors while García was chosen as number 23 for the Sacramento Kings.
  • In August 2005, the Hoy newspaper stated: Eighteen players (including a woman) and two managers of Dominican operations will invade NCAA basketball for its next season, whose official start date is this Thursday in the United States.
  • In total, six played for the first time at that level, marking a milestone in the history of Dominican basketball.
  • The Dominican Republic was the site of the Pre Mundial de Balocesto 2005, in which the Dominican team won sixth place.  Brazil won first place.

 

Volleyball

With the U.S. invasion of 1916 and the arrival of a contingent of Marines, the practice of volleyball began in the Dominican Republic.  The discipline quickly took hold in the urban sector, principally in Santo Domingo, where youth of both genders began to participate in intense days of practice on improvised courts.

It was not until 1934 that the Dominican Republic participated for the first time in an international tournament, in Haiti, but the victories won since then in regional and world competitions are evidence of the game’s strong roots in the country.

In 1946, the men’s and women’s teams participated for the first time in the Central American and Caribbean games, held in Colombia.  The women’s team won the gold medal.
In 1962, the national teams represented the Dominican Republic in the Central American and Caribbean Games, held in the city of Kingston, Jamaica.  The women’s team acquired another gold medal while the men’s team won the silver.

In 1974, the women’s volleyball team represented the country for the first time in the world championship in Mexico.  Four years later, the team attended the world championship held in Russia in 1978.

The women’s team won third place in the Continental Championship, NORCECA, held in 1997.  In 1998, in Japan, the national athletes qualified for the World Championship and earned one of the 10 first places.  In the Central American and Caribbean Games held in the city of Maracaibo, Venezuela in 1998, the team earned second place.

In 1999, the volleyball team obtained fourth place in the Pan American Games, held in Winnipeg, Canada.  It won the gold medal in the 1999 and 2000 U.S. Open Tournaments and second place in the International Volleyball Tournament in Bremen, Germany, after competing in the finals against Russia.

In the European Volleyball Cup of 2000, held in the city of Palermo, Italy, the team won third place after defeating various professional teams in the Italian volleyball league.

At the beginning of 2002, the team participated in the U.S. Professional Volleyball Tournament and won first place.  The same year, in the 19th Central American and Caribbean Sporting Games in El Salvador, the team won first place upon defeating 3-0 the Venezuelan team in the final, becoming the Central American and Caribbean champion and PanAmerican sub-champion.

In August 2003, the Dominican team made history, winning the gold medal in the 14th PanAmerican Games held in Santo Domingo.  Five Dominican players were included in the All-Star team of the tournament.

In 2004, in the Second Pan American Cup of Women’s Volleyball, held in the city of Saltillo, Mexico, the team defeated Cuba to compete in the finals against United States.  They earned second place.

 

Surf

The start of surfing in the Dominican Republic came about as a result of the influx of people from the United States in 1965, when marines rode the first waves on the beaches of Playa Manresa and Güibia, in Santo Domingo. Shortly afterwards some Dominican citizens started to take up the sport, and started to discover other beaches: Patho in Nizao, Boya, in Boca Chica, and Encuentro, in Puerto Plata.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s the first competitions and surfing activities for surfing in the country took place. As a result, the sport has come to appeal to middle class and upper class young people in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and has become very fashionable.

At the same time the first international events took place in the country including World Surfing Games (global competitions), Caribbean competitions and other types of competition. At the end of the 1980’s and the beginning of the 1990’s the first organizations bringing surfers together were created, with ADOSURF being particularly noted, bringing together surfing athletes in all its forms: surfing (short board), Long board, Body board and Knee board in their respective categories: Ladies, Under 18, “Junior”, Open and Master.

Throughout all these changes, the results of at least two local surfers are noteworthy. In the 1980’s the Dominican citizen Alan Nadal qualified among the 10 best surfers in the world at that time.

In the 1990’s, Orlando Bonilla (KKLE) achieved first place in a Pan-American meeting and various merits in other international competitions. Other homebred talents have shone in various international tournaments.

During this period inter-provincial competitions were organized as well as several international trips. Towards 1998 the organization slowed down and the development of the sport went into decline. In 2000 the surfing movement gained new momentum with the formation of the Surfing Association of Santo Domingo ASSD, which started a program to establish five other associations, which culminated in the establishment of a Federation of Surfing (FEDOSURF), in June of 2002.

More Information:
Federación Dominicana de Surfing (FEDOSURF): http://fedosurf.org

Consolidation on tables

The solid base that surfing has managed to achieve among the giant waves is proven by the heights reached through FEDOSURF. This organization, governed by the Dominican Olympic Committee, which establish the Nation Surfing Ranking in all its forms and obtained the support of the International Surfing Association ISA in recognizing the 13 associations and/or federations by the Olympic Committees of the countries participating in the Pan-American Games in Santo Domingo in 2003.

The International Surfing Association, the Pan-American Surfing Association and the Latin American Surfing Association, which recognize the federation as an official governing entity of the sport in all its forms in the Dominican Republic.

In October 2002, as a result of the developments achieved, the first Latin American Surfing Competition took place in the Dominican Republic on the beach of Encuentro de Cabarete in Puerto Plata, where the Latin American Tournament was held (in its third year). Nine countries from Latin American took part. The tournament has taken place three years in a row and Dominican athletes have featured in the ranking within Latin America.

Currently the country has two teams of players endorsed by ALAS and PASA.

Also happening at the moment is the implementation of a procurement program for new places to surf in areas that have not yet been incorporated into our organizations, such as Samaná, Higuey, Montecristi and Pedernales.

Did you know? Some of the coastline where surfing is mostly practiced is located in Monte Cristi, Puerto Plata, Sosua, Cabarete, Sabaneta, Río San Juan, Cabrera, Nagua, Samana (Terrenas), Miches, Uvero Alto, Macao, Babaro and Punta Cana (on the outskirts of the reef) Juan Dolio, Andrés Boca Chica, Santo Domingo, Nigua, San Cristóbal, Nizao, Barahona and Pedernales.

The waves in the south tend to be come consistent in the summer season, due to cyclone activity. The most visited beaches in this area are Patho, Manresa, Güibia, Boya and Bahoruco. The waves in the north are more consistent from autumn to spring, due to cold fronts coming from the North Atlantic. The most popular beaches on this coast are Encuentro, Mañanero, Playa Grande and Preciosa.

 

Swimming

Marcos Diaz, an islander who swims between continents

On August 8th 2005, Marcos Diaz, an open-water extreme swimmer, set a new world record. He crossed the Strait of Gibraltar back and forth in 8 hours and 31 minutes which is 1 hour and 28 minutes less than the best record at the time for the same distance. His achievement is even more astounding given the fact that the Dominican swimmer applied a very risky strategy. Diaz started through the least challenging route (from Spain to Morocco), leaving for last the part where the swimmer is more vulnerable to the Strait’s currents (from Morocco to Spain). This had never been done before and only three more people had crossed the Strait back and forth.

However, this accomplishment was not an accident. Marcos is a living example of what permanent effort and dedication to self improvement in any task can achieve. A vital constant in him has been not settling with what he has accomplished but setting greater challenges for himself. His career proves it.

He was born on January 12, 1975 in Santo Domingo. The asthma crisis he has to suffer as a child persuades his parents to take him to swimming lessons at age 6. Soon, the kid doesn’t only overcome his condition, but also starts a career that has become the axis of his life. From being part of the Casa España Club swimming team at age 6 and being part of the national swimming league in several international competitions, to becoming who he is today: one of the first open-water extreme swimmer  worldwide. Thus, he has earned the recognition and respect of Dominican people.

Marcos Diaz holds a management degree as well as master’s degree in marketing from the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC). The foundation that has his name has created a scholarship program to favor education of young swimmers of low economic resources and high academic achievements.

In September 2005 he was named Goodwill Ambassador by the President of the Dominican Republic.

¿Ya disfrutaste de las habichuelas con dulce dominicanas? #DominicanaOnline te invita este Viernes Santo a deleitarte con la @Lacheftita y su receta. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sWNLRr33ro8

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