From left: Joe Kaplan and Tyree Bastidas wearing their NYAC uniforms.
Joe Kaplan, a long time member of the NYAC, a National and a World champion player, was in the finals once again this past weekend. Kaplan is not stranger to the finals. He has been there a few times and with his vast experience and top conditioning he can win the tournament anytime in the near future.
On the other hand, Tyree Bastidas has been a member of the NYAC since 2010, when he won the national title for the first time. He has also been in the finals quiet a few times and is expected to be at the finals of this great event later on.
Kaplan and Bastidas faced each other on December 4, in a roller coaster game that ended with a close score.
Paul Williams, who has been instrumental for both players to be accepted as members of the prestigious NYAC, was present at the tournament and served as a referee for the long line of the final game.
Paul Angel is surrounded by his players who proudly wear their Bay 8 Park shirt.
Everybody knows who P. Angel is in the 1-wall handball community, but in Bay 8 Park in Brooklyn he is more than a player, he is a coach. He has been training young girls to become great 1-wall small ball players for the past ten years.
The Bay 8 Park, as is usually known, is actually the Dyker Beach Park and has been the cradle of some USHA junior national champions, who later on went on to win national open championships.
Sarah Au, Sandy Ng and Danielle Daskalakis spent some of their teenager years playing in this Park under the watchful eye of P. Angel.
This year was not different as Angel spent more time, guided and inspired more players to compete in handball tournaments.
Congratulations to Paul Angel, for helping, guiding and training young players, the future of handball.
Above: Tournament photos of the International event held in New York.
For the first time, Puerto Rico dominated the men’s and women’s field in what turned out to be one of the fiercest competitions to date.
Men’s open division:
From the beginning to the end non stop action was all around the courts as no team wanted to be eliminated, it caused the tournament to run longer than projected. Tournament Director, A. Apuzzi, still managed to finish the event within the allotted time.
The surprises of the tournament were teams from Israel and Italy. Israel put up a long fight that lasted almost two hours during the first round, while Italy advanced to the semifinals in its debut.
In the championship game, Puerto Rico started strong and built a lead of about nine points the USA team couldn't overcome.The American team did make a small come back to close the gap in the middle of the game, but it was to late to stop team Puerto Rico from scoring the last point.
Women’s open division:
In the women’s division, team China scared team USA when it pushed the Americans to the edge. Team USHA survived an early exit in the first round.
On the other side of the draw, team Puerto Rico was almost eliminated in the first round by the tough Dominican Republic team, but it kept its composure to clinch the victory.
The anticipated final game was played by the eternal rival teams of Puerto Rico and USA. In the end team USHA couldn’t find its rhythm and lost to Puerto Rico in a lopsided final.
The Dominican Republic team beat the Chinese team to secure third place.
Above: Team Puerto Rico.
Above: Team Jamaica.
Above: Team Ecuador
Above: Team China
Above: Team Ukraine.
Above: Team Dominican Republic.
U.S.H.A. Executive Director, Vern Roberts, has previously stated “If handball was ever to make it to the Olympics, it will be the 1-wall that is played with a racquetball”. Almost fifteen years after he made this statement, the 1-wall handball version has flourished around the world and has expanded its popularity to new heights.
More countries are playing 1-wall handball and holding tournaments at national levels, international championships and of course, the Worlds, which is held every three years in various continents.
This past weekend, the international team invitational welcomed new country teams. The only country missing from last year’s international event was team Mexico.
The concept of Dual citizenship was unheard of in the past, but with the world changing dramatically, The U.S. government now allows and recognizes dual citizenship as a fact of life.
Dual citizenship is not something that can be applied for. It is a process that happens when a person becomes a citizen of another country, in addition to his or her country of birth.
Dual citizenship can occurs automatically for some individuals. Such is the case of a child born in the U.S. to foreign parents. In this case the child has U.S. Dual Citizenship since the child is automatically a citizen of the U.S and a citizen of its parent’s home country.
The International Olympic Committee’s rules have also changed dramatically and have recognized Dual Citizenship during the past decade.
Recently, Felix Sanchez, an Olympic Athlete born in New York and raised in California, participated and represented the Dominican Republic (his parents’ country of birth) in different International events, including the Olympics.