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Behind the medals: Sports is a right in Cuba

Raul deportistasEvery victory in Lima is a victory for all Cubans, who share the athletes’ joy and effort. Thus President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez emphasized, during the send-off ceremony for the country’s delegation to the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, that everyday will be an opportunity to “Go for more.”

Following the official opening of the competition, a colorful, well-conceived inauguration ceremony, Cuban sports shooters took the initiative on the medal chart, with Laina Pérez (gold) and Sheyla González (bronze), in the air gun 10meters, winning the country’s first medals.

Those who everyone predicted would be our first champions, canoeists Fernando Dayán Jorge and Serguey Torres, met the expectations as favorites and triumphed in the C-2 1000 meters on Lake Albufera Medio Mundo, in Huacho.

Next would be Jorge Grau, a young man who has experienced a rapid ascent in his performances, with an excellent presentation at the Las Palmas air base, headquarters of the event, where he took the gold medal in the air gun 10 meters.
Army General Raúl Castro has always supported our athletes, pictured here with Driulys González, champion in the Rio 2007 Pan Americans.

It was precisely Jorge Grau and Laina Pérez, in the mixed gun at 10 meters, who won the gold medal, thus the shooting team surpassed the number of titles won in its previous performance in Toronto 2015.

In the two-seat canoe 500 meters for women, Mayvihanet Borges and Katherin Nuevo triumphed in an unprecedented performance, even more impressive given the fact that Katherin is only 16, highlighting the talent of Cuba´s youngest athletes.

Others who climbed the podium included Jorge Félix Álvarez and Leuris Pupo in the quick shot, 25-meter pistol, a specialty in which they took both the gold and silver medals for Cuba.

The rest of our medals, were won by a discipline accustomed to leading delegations in multisport events: boxing. This time was not the exception, since their eight gold medals moved the country up on the medal chart.

Lázaro Álvarez in the 60 kg, Roniel Iglesias (69), Julio César La Cruz (81), Dainier Pero (+91), Osvel Caballero (56 kg), Andy Cruz (64 kg), Arlen López (75 kg), and Erislandy Savón (91 kg) have established their names in the sport on the continent.
On the way to Lima 2019 with a great commitment to the people, the Cuban delegation was honored by President Miguel Díaz-Canel before their departure.

Not everyone has the opportunity to win a medal, but competing with dignity and making one’s best effort is always a way to return the support that the Cuban people and authorities give athletes. We all saw how gymnast Randy Lerú suffered a fall that eliminated his chances for a medal, but he got up and moved on, and with that attitude won the most valuable medal: the people’s respect.


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