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  • Submitted by: lena campos
  • 08 / 17 / 2012

The Cuban baseball player who disappeared overnight Monday from Edmonton in a suspected attempt to defect is Odrisleisis Pequero Del Sol.

A 21-year-outfielder from Ciego de Avila, 460 kilometres east of Havana, Pequero appeared in just one game at the World Cup of Women’s Baseball before going missing from Lister Hall, the residence at the University of Alberta playing host to the eight teams participating in the international tournament.

On Tuesday morning, Pequero crossed the border into the United States and later called the Cuban delegation to say she was safe and in the U.S. Travelling on a visa acquired in Chicago, where the Cuban team had a connecting flight to Edmonton, she was able to enter the United States legally and has not yet requested asylum, but can do so while her visa remains valid.

The Cuban delegation has not publicly acknowledged Pequero’s departure, but police were called Tuesday morning to Lister Hall when it was discovered that one of the players was gone. Police said the player was not officially listed as missing because she had also legally entered Canada, and was free to travel.

Pequero has since been removed from the Cuban national team’s roster at the World Cup of Women’s baseball. Regulations require players to remain on a team’s roster as long as they are at the event, even if injured and unable to play.

A handful of players have defected in Edmonton while playing at international baseball tournaments over the years, including three members of Cuba’s junior national team in 2008. A Cuban player has never previously defected from the Women’s World Cup, which is currently being contested for the fifth time.

In its first year in 2004, also in Edmonton, a team from Bulgaria was refused entry into Canada at the last minute after authorities were tipped off that members planned to defect.

Officials with the International Baseball Federation refused comment on the Cuban player Friday night. Earlier in the day, the team won its first game at the event by beating the Netherlands, 13-5.

In Pequero’s only game at the World Cup, she had one hit in two at-bats in a 12-4 loss to Australia on Aug. 12.

Source: Edmonton Journal

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