Cuban President Raul Castro welcomed the Cuban delegation that participated in the 2009 World Baseball Classic when they arrived on Friday morning at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana.
Raul greeted each member of the delegation and urged them to continue working hard for future tournaments.
During a brief ceremony, Frederich Cepeda, the best Cuban player during the competition, thanked the Cuban people and authorities for their constant support.
"We would have liked to return with the victory for our people but it was not possible on this occasion," he said. "We are all here, holding our heads high and willing to continue giving our best for our Revolution," he added.
Cepeda stressed that the experiences learned during the Classic would help Cuban baseball players improve their quality and performance.
The keynote address at the ceremony was delivered by VP Esteban Lazo, who, paraphrasing an idea of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, said: "Regardless of the result, what really matters is the honor and courage with which you fight for the triumph."
Lazo added that, although they wanted the victory, the Cuban people admire and recognize the effort and loyalty of the team.
He also praised the exceptional technical skills of the Cuban players that were reflected in the victories obtained against powerful teams full of professional players from several leagues around the world.
The Cuban VP of the Council of State also recalled the permanent support and encouragement the Cuban squad received from Fidel, Raul and the Cuban people.
He urged the sports authorities to carry out an unhurried, rigorous and thorough analysis of Cuba's participation in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and to take the necessary steps so that Cuba becomes, again, the leading world baseball nation as it has been over the past decades.
Also present at the ceremony was the President of the Cuban Olympic Committee, Jose Ramon Fernandez, as well as other government and sports authorities.