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The delegation that represented us in Lima was determined to uphold the name of Cuba

Lima deportesCuba and its sports movement have just starred in another international event. The Pan American Games in Lima were a major challenge and the Cuban delegation, including some 420 athletes, won 98 medals, 33 of them gold, placing fifth among all participating nations on the medal chart.

They fought hard to meet the goal of surpassing the 36 gold medals won four years ago at the Toronto event, according to Osvaldo Vento Montiller, INDER President and head of the delegation to the Peruvian capital, noting athletes somber celebrations of silver and bronze medals that would unleash jubilation in any other delegation, as well as the tears of shame that flowed when a proposed goal was not met.

In a communiqué following the continental event, Vento explained, “We always emphasize that we are facing a very demanding contest, characterized by the high level of countries with more economic strength, which means an abundance of equipment, infrastructure, technology, facilities, and the needed practice, resources to nationalize, contract, or buy athletes and coaches, and other specific factors, including populations that are significantly larger than ours.”

He explained in a document presented to the media, “The reality points to the consolidation of this panorama in the future, because high performance sports increasingly demands large expenditures, and this is a challenge of great significance.”

The INDER President noted, “Given the prevailing level, described as the highest in the history of these competitions, with the presence of more than 100 Olympic medalists and 21 sports providing the opportunity to qualify for Tokyo, discipline, a winning attitude, and team spirit prevailed.”

Commenting on overall results, he noted that 20 sports made a contribution, “Nine of which contributed gold. We’re talking about boxing (8), athletics (5), wrestling (5), judo (5), shooting (4), canoeing (2), rowing (2), cycling (1) and fencing (1).”

The Cuban delegation participated in 267 of the 419 trials held, which meant being absent from 152, including more than a few not included in the Olympic program, “with which the overall order would not have been the same,” he said.

Vento highlighted those disciplines which won more medals than projected: shooting (2 more), boxing (1), athletics (1), judo (1) and fencing (1). He also referred to those in which the projected performances were not delivered, such as taekwondo and baseball, the latter with totally unexpected results, given the extensive training conducted, he said.

Our artistic gymnastics and jai alai teams did not win the medals they hoped for, while wrestling left behind two titles that had been identified as winnable, Vento noted,

Nevertheless, he insisted, “Analysis is needed, because we will never accept complacency, but nothing can take anything away from the pride we feel for the passion with which this delegation competed, to uphold the name of Cuba and the honorable people they represented.”

He again emphasized that Cuba, unlike others who add athletes and coaches from other countries to their teams, competed in Lima with an entirely Cuban delegation, “the product of a sports system within the reach of all, sustained as a priority by the state, despite the increasing hostility of the U.S. government, which imposes limitations that no other country must face.”

The INDER President likewise stressed that no disappointing performance was the result of lack of commitment or effort.

He highlighted the Cuban people’s support for the delegation, at all times, and reported that athletes were moved to receive messages from the President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez; Esteban Lazo Hernández, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power; and Comandante de la Revolución Ramiro Valdés Menéndez, among other leaders.

Also described as motivating were the conversations several team members held with Olga Lidia Tapia Iglesias, a member of the Party Central Committee Secretariat.


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