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Las Leonas are Argentina's national women's field hockey team. They have achieved a total of six World Cup medals, three Olympic medals, six Champions Trophy medals, and six Pan American medals. Their nickname translates literally as "The Lionesses", but they are known worldwide as Las Leonas.
Hockey was introduced in Argentina by English immigrants in the beginning of the 20th century, and the first women's teams were officially formed in 1909. In 1997, Sergio Vigil, a former player for the men's national team, was appointed coach. Under his leadership, Las Leonas achieved their first World Hockey Cup title, their first Olympic medals, their first Champions Trophy medals, and many other achievements. The team went from having a rather limited audience to becoming a national sensation, with some of the players even appearing as models in advertising campaigns.
Throughout its history, the team has developed a reputation for being tenacious even when a match appears to be lost. For this reason, a lioness was chosen as their symbol when the team qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics. During the second round of games, Argentina played against the powerful Dutch team, and they chose this occasion to place the image of a lioness on their shirts for the first time. Argentina won that match, went on to win the silver medal, and Las Leonas were born. The name also falls in line with an unwritten Argentine tradition of naming national teams after big cats: the men's rugby union team is called Los Pumas ("The Pumas"), and the women's volleyball team is known as Las Panteras ("The Panthers").
''Note: There was no women's field hockey competition at the Olympic Games before 1980.
Champions TrophyNote: the team did not qualify for the Champions Trophies of 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1997.
Pan American GamesNote: there was no women's field hockey competition at the Pan American Games before 1987.
Pan American Cup
2001 - Kingston, Jamaica - Gold
2004 - Bridgeport, Barbados - Gold
2009 - Hamilton, Bermuda - Gold
The junior (under 21) team, aptly named Las Leoncitas'' ("The Baby Lionesses" or "The Lioness Cubs"), has also been successful, winning a total of four Junior World Cup medals and six Pan American medals.
Pan American Championships
Argentina men's national field hockey team
Confederacion Argentina de Hockey Official site of the Argentine Hockey Confederation
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Las Leonas