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Cuban athletics shine in winter circuit events

Deportista JM EcheverríaCuban athletics got off to a good start in the 2021 winter indoor season. Specifically, our jumpers have taken the lead in kick-starting the national machinery, with Juan Miguel Echevarría, world indoor long jump world champion in 2018, as a protagonist and one of the most promising candidates for the title at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

While the obligatory hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the dream of Olympic glory, his confident start this season is laying the necessary foundations to reach the top. In his first two performances, in Karslruhe, Germany, and Lievin, France, he took top honors with record jumps over eight meters: 8.18 and 8.25, respectively, results that again established him as leader of the long jump, a position he has held since 2020.

He employed different strategies in the two events. In the German competition, Echevarría went for his best on the first attempt, a practice that has characterized his style. He achieved the definitive 8.18, followed with jumps of 7.72 and 8.09, and declined his final two attempts. In France, he started slower, going from shorter to longer jumps. It wasn’t until the last opportunity that he jumped over eight meters. In this event, he debuted a new, more progressive impulse run, which allowed him to reach the take-off with much more strength.

Among his rivals, Miltiadis Tentoglou, the current European champion from Greece, appears to be the most consistent, thus far, with a record of 8.21, obtained in Lievin. Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle and U.S. jumper Jeff Henderson, gold and silver in Doha 2019, have not competed yet this year, thus, we will have to wait to see who could challenge Echevarría, who will close his winter season in the Madrid meet.

Luis Enrique Zayas has won a medal with all his high jump performances thus far. With the absence of Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim, the great favorite to take the crown in Tokyo, Zayas, Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko and Italian Gianmarco Tamberi, have dominated winter circuit events. The Cuban will seek to surpass 2.30 meters in an upcoming event in Torun, Poland, which he has achieved before, with a 2.31m jump in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.

(Taken from Granma)

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