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30 Aug 2010

Haiti footballers bring joy to fans back home

The performance of the Haiti boys' football team has been one of the undoubted highlights of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore – and their achievement in making the gold medal match has brought joy to a country that was devastated by a huge earthquake at the beginning of the year.

The players themselves relished the opportunity to play at the Youth Olympic Games.

“Being at the Games has been an amazing experience,” said Haiti captain Daniel Gedeon during the training session before the final match. “I think everyone in Haiti is excited by what we've achieved and I think they'll all be watching on TV when we play in the final.”

Playing at the Youth Olympic Games marks the first time that Gedeon, 15, has travelled outside Haiti, and the midfielder enjoyed the unique experience of the Games.

“It's been great to meet people from other countries, sit with them and eat in the village and try to speak to them,” he said. “We speak different languages but we can still communicate with them.”

Haiti coach Pierre Sonche says his side's march to the final, where they will face Bolivia, has brought joy to a nation still coming to terms with the effects of January's earthquake.

“We can't give money to our people back in Haiti,” he said after his team's 2-0 win over Singapore in the semi-finals. “But at least I know they are very happy with this result and our campaign here in Singapore.”

Bolivia took the gold medal in the final, with Haiti taking the silver.

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