The news, far from surprising me, delighted me greatly. Professor Ronaldo Veitia will be exalted to the Hall of Fame of the International Judo Federation at the upcoming World Championship to be held in Baku in September 18th.
The awesome contribution, concerning education and results, from the eight-Dan black belt professor, in a sports discipline whose main goal is the shaping of human values, was the paramount element for his nomination. Indeed, several Olympic and World titles won by her athletes speak for him.
I met him personally two years ago. He was retired back then after 30 years of hard work leading the Cuban women judo team.
I am not one of the traditional journalists who report this sport. But he has always showed respect for me. And he cared for me a lot and was kind when I visited his home in Santa Maria del Rosario where he is sort of a hero.
I got lost, but I asked the first man I saw on the street and he pointed me where Ronaldo’s house was.
We talked for more than two hours. Our subjects went from his early days in the tatami to the toughest hours our retirement, and some others dissatisfactions. He was accompanied by Mercedes and described me the sweetness of glory, but also the spice of life.
He has been proposed to train in other nations, but he has refused to train a team that could face Cuba’s. Therefore, he rather gives lecture all around the world.
That is the kind of prestige he has earned after decades of sacrifice.
He will be the third Cuban citizen in the Hall of Fame in the very elite list of thirty members, after Hector Rodriguez and Driulis Gonzalez. Credit where credit is due.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz