CUBA SETS OFF FOR
THE PLANET HAS STOPPED MOVING: WE ARE IN TIMES OF OLYMPIC GAMES. SIGHTS ARE SET ON RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL. THE OLYMPIC GAMES TAKE UP EVERYONE’S ATTENTION, THE BRAZILIAN CITY BECOMES THE AMBASSADOR OF UNIVERSAL SPORT, CAPITAL OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD OF MUSCLES.
Cuba will travel to Rio with a single objective: to change the image left in the last presentations under the five rings. With a delegation of more than 120 athletes, the Cubans plan to surpass the bitter days of Beijing 2008 (where they ranked 33rd, with two gold medals) and London 2012 (16th place, with five gold medals).
Regarding this plan, Antonio Becali, president of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), told us: “We are going to the Olympic Games with a very optimistic spirit to reach a great result. There are sport disciplines with greater options for titles and medals, boxing will continue being our f lagship, but it is expected that judo, wrestling, track and field, as well as taekwondo and artistic gymnastics must also contribute medals.”
Cuba has won 209 medals in Olympic Games, 72 of which have been gold; an important performance for an island of only 11 million inhabitants and difficulties that prevent the optimum training and incentive of its athletes
Becali also believes that “we have many options in rowing, shooting, cycling, but I must highlight that all the sports want to contribute to the harvest of medals, they all have in their minds getting to the podium. Cuba will go to Rio seeking a better result than in the past Olympics; I have no doubts about that.”
And the thing is that Cuba, while it hasn’t stopped being a world power in sports, its results and figures have declined in elite events. The mass exodus of high-performance athletes, the country’s deficient sports policies and the sports ascent and development in nations that until a few years ago didn’t even get a peek of the podiums, have led to the level of Cuban sports to not be at the height of a few decades ago.
Julio César La Cruz, captain of the boxing team, commented: “Boxing has always been the inspiration in the Olympics, we have the responsibility of keeping up with this and of defining the medal table. We are going with all we’ve got. We want to demonstrate that Cuban sports continues being the same and we want to present that big gift to the Cuban people, who deserve it.”
Cuba will surely not be able to equal in Rio its feat in Barcelona 1992, when after being absent from Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, it won on Spanish soil a total of 31 medals (14 gold), to rank in a prestigious fifth place in the world. It will be very difficult this time to surpass the eighth place of Atlanta 1996 and its nine gold medals, or Sydney 2000 and its ninth place with 11 first places.
But it’s not crazy to go as far as forecasting that the Cuban athletes can return to the top ten of the Olympic Games. With the boxing team in top shape; track and field headed by Yarisley Silva, Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Denia Caballero; with Mijaín López and the wrestlers; Idalys Ortiz and the judokas, plus Rafael Alba in taekwondo, Cuba can round off a performance that returns it to star positions in summer meetings.
CUBA OCUPA EL PUESTO 18 EN EL LISTADO HISTÓRICO DE CITAS ESTIVALES, EN GRAN MEDIDA POR EL APORTE DE LAS DISCIPLINAS DE COMBATE ( BOXEO, JUDO, LUCHA Y TAEKWONDO)
Mijaín López, who is vying for the third consecutive Olympic crown, will be the standard-bearer of the Cuban delegation. The Pinar del Río wrestler told us: “These Olympic Games will be different from the others. We are better prepared and, in my case, it will be my last Olympics, thus I want to bid my people farewell with all the works, bringing back my third gold medal.”
Perhaps the generational change is marked by Manrique Larduet, a young crack gymnastics that has brought Cuba back to the elite of that discipline. “I am very anxious and really want to win in Rio, I’m sure that something big will happen, expect the best, forget the recent past, forget that we are young, just place your trust in us because we won’t disappoint you.”
The Olympic fire is already lit. The lights of the legendary Maracaná have been turned on, Cuba is in Rio, the journey has begun. The Olympics are here.
(Gimnasia artística). Campeón y multimedallista en los XXII Juegos Centroamericanos y del Caribe Veracruz 2014. Obtuvo medallas en el III Campeonato Mundial y la Copa del Mundo de Gimnasia artística 2016. (Gymnastics), Champion and multi medalist in the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games Veracruz 2014. Won medals in the 3rd World Championship and the 2016 World Gymnastics Cup.
(Ciclismo). Medallista panamericana y Campeona centroamericana en los XXII Juegos celebrados en Veracruz en el año 2014. (Cycling). Pan American medalist and Central American Champion in the 22nd Games held in Veracruz in 2014.
( Judo). Cuban sports glory. London 2012 Olympic Games runner-up. World champion at the 29th World Judo Championship, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. ( Judo). Gloria del deporte cubano.Subcampeón de los Juegos Olímpicos de Londres 2012. Campeón mundial del XXIX Campeonato Mundial de Judo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.