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Cuban coach who led Belize to 2018 Central American Women’s Volleyball Subchampionship passes away in Cuba

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Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2021. 7:17 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Cuban coach, Esmidio Limonta, who led the Belize’s Women’s National Volleyball Team in winning the silver medal at the 2018 Central American Senior Championship held in Belize City, passed away in Cuba on Thursday according to numerous posts on Facebook.

Limonta worked as head coach along with another Cuban coach Delio Arruebarrena in training the team that rocked Belize that year with their performance.

As a result of that silver medal the Belize Women’s National Team qualified to the 2019 NORCECA XVIII Women Pan American Cup in Peru, as well as the NORCECA Continental Championship/Olympic Qualification Tournament in Puerto Rico.
Limonta had been hospitalized recently in Cuban and was on a strict hemodialysis treatment according to a Facebook post in July.

“Here in Cuba sick with a hemodialysis treatment,” he wrote from the city of Santiago de Cuba in response to a question about his health posed by Belizean volleyball coach Albert Humes. Despite his ailing health, Limonta told another friend that he was living a normal life and working with his son, Esmidio Jr., on school beach volleyball.

Reports from Cuba say he died due to COVID-19.

“Saddened to hear of the passing of Profe Esmidio Limonta. The volleyball community in Cuba and The World has lost a giant of a person,” said Bryton Codd, one of Belize’s premier players, who is now playing professionally in Finland. “The Belize Volleyball community will surely miss Profe Limonta! We extend our condolences to his family, friends and the Cuban Volleyball Community.”

Codd said when they first heard that Limonta was coming to Belize, his CV and accomplishments spoke for themselves.

“Profe Limonta was a crucial part of the women’s success in the 2018 Central American Senior Championships in Belize.

“When team Belize defeated Costa Rica, it sent chills down my spine and it was the first time I saw Profe Limonta display such a burst of energy as he is usually a calm person.

“The Belize Volleyball community will surely miss Profe Limonta! We extend our condolences to his family, friends and the Cuban Volleyball Community.

“We are so grateful to have had a giant like Profe Limonta with us! RIP Profe,” Codd concluded.

“I’m so lost for words, profe,” libero Jahshema Saunders wrote on Facebook. “You trained me so hard to be the great libero I was because you saw my potential and ability … all the talk we had ran through my mind and I started to cry. Sleep in paradise.”

Like many Cuban coaches, Limonta had been to several countries including Honduras where the Valle de Sula Volleyball League expressed their condolences on social media. The Honduran League recognized Limonta’s work at the helm of the Honduran National Women’s Team in 1997 and as coach of a pilot project in San Pedro Sula from 1995 to 1997.

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