Two days after dominating the 800m, Rosemary Almanza became the first athlete to win two gold medals at the Games as she moved away from the field on the home stretch to take the 1500m. She became the first Cuban woman to clinch the title in the distance and followed previous 800m/1500m double winners Letitia Vriesde (1993) of Surinam and Colombia´s Rosibel García (2010).

Garcia finished third on Wednesday while Colombia's 5000m gold medallist and 1500m defending champion Muriel Cuneo faded to fifth after leading during 1200m.

World indoor bronze medallist and second on the world lists, Yorgelis Rodriguez successfully defended her heptathlon crown with a Games record of 6436 points. South American record holder Evelis Aguilar came within 26 points of the Cuban after the long jump and went on to win silver in 6285 points, a new Area record. Venezuela´s Luisaris Toledo finished fast in 800m (2:12.27) to win bronze in a new national record of 5848.

Jamaica added two more victories on the track with Shashalee Forbes in 200m (22.80) and Tiffany James in 400m (52.35) to enjoy their best performance ever in the history of the Games. Seven of the country´s 10 gold medals won at the Games have been achieved in athletics.

Mexico also continued a solid performance. Jose Leyver Ojeda took the 50km race walk win in very hot and humid conditions, with his wife and two daughters supporting him during the 50-lap loop course along the Malecon in Barranquilla. Recovering from the 5000m final a day earlier, Fernando Daniel Martinez bided his time and led a gold-silver finish in a slow final, followed by Jose Eduardo Rodriguez.

Trinidad and Tobago's two-time Olympic finalist Cleopatra Borel became the first woman to win three gold medals in the shot put with a 18.14m effort in the shot put. 2007 world champion Donald Thomas added to his 2010 gold with a victory in the high jump. Dominican Republic´s 2012 Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos ran a season´s best of 44.59 to secure the gold in 400m, a day after his younger brother Juander had won bronze in the 400m Hurdles.

For Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, it was their first athletics title of the Games.

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Cuba climbs to third position in Barranquilla after winning 13 gold medals

Cuba earned 13 gold medals on the fourth day of the competition program of the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Games based in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, main venue, and the co-hosts of Cali and Bogota.

Within the best of this Sunday it highlights the crown won by diver Anisley Garcia, she is only 16, who beat in an electrifying final the Mexican favorites Viviana del Angel and Gabriela Agundez, silver and bronze medalists, in that order.

More emotions were experienced at the Puerta de Oro Events Center, home of the artistic gymnastics tournament, where Marcia Videaux won the women´s all around event, performance emulated by ace Manrique Larduet in the men´s contest.

Other titles for the Cuban delegation went to weightlifters Adriel La O (77 kilograms) and Marina Rodriguez (63), both in the clean & jerk modality; cyclist Marlies Mejias in the women´s scratch and the taekwondo athletes Rafael Alba (87 kilos), Jose Cobas (74) and the woman Glienys Castillo (62).

In addition, the rowing added gold medals through the duet of Angel Fournier-Adrian Oquendo in the men´s coxless pair event; and Yariulvis Cobas (single sculls), in both cases at the distance of 2.000 meters.

Cuba´s other first places reached yesterday were for the 10-meter air rifle women's team at and the men's duo of modern pentathlon.

There were also highlights to swimmers Armando Barrera and Luis Vega, winners of silver and bronze medals in the men´s 50 meters backstroke and the men´s 400m individual medley, respectively.

Regarding team sports, Cuba achieved its first win in the women's field hockey competition when beating 2-0 Guyana and the women's basketball squad defeated 66-51 Colombia, while the women´s volleyball side collected its third loss, this time 2-3 to Venezuela and the men´s baseball team lost 1-8 to Puerto Rico, and now has balance of two wins and one loss.

For today, Cuba has great opportunities for titles in disciplines such as rowing, shooting, track cycling and taekwondo, among others.

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Cuba Wins Eight Gold Medals at Central American Games

Cali, Colombia, Jul 22 (Prensa Latina) Cuba has won eight gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, after Alexis Lopez won the title in the men''s individual short-paddle rowing contest, in which he clocked 7.53.96 minutes, and was followed by his compatriot Yhoan Uribarri, who won the silver medal (8.00.66), while Venezuela''s Jose Guipe finished in the third place (8.03.44).

For her part, Yariulvis Cobas won the title in the women's short paddle rowing race, in which she clocked 9.13.05 minutes, leaving Felice Chow, from Trinidad and Tobago, behind, who timed 9.26.24 minutes. The bronze medal went to Mexico's Naiara Arrillaga (9.41.22).

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Dominicans look to continue winning streak

BARRANQUILLA, Colombia, July 17, 2018 – Four-time defending champions Dominican Republic are one of the eight teams registered to participate in the female volleyball tournament of the XXIII Central American and Caribbean Games to be played at Humberto Perea Coliseum from July 20 to 25.

The Dominicans hot streak started in 2002 at the Games held in San Salvador and continued through the editions of 2006 in Cartagena de Indias, 2010 in Mayaguez and 2014 in Veracruz.

The defending champions will play in Pool A together with Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico. The Pool B consists of teams of Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica and host Colombia.

The winners of the pools will earn direct tickets to the semifinal phase while the teams placed in second and third will compete in the quarterfinals.

In the history of the Games, Cuba has won the women’s tournament eight times, including seven in a row. The Dominican Republic is next with six titles and Mexico has won the other three tournaments.

Puerto Rico and Trinidad & Tobago are scheduled to open the competition on July 20 at 15:00 local time, followed by the match between Dominican Republic and Venezuela at 17:00. Colombia will play Costa Rica at 19:00 while Cuba will square off Mexico at 21:00.

The preliminary round schedule is the following:

July 20

15:00    Puerto Rico v Trinidad & Tobago

17:00    Dominican Republic v Venezuela

19:00    Colombia v Costa Rica

21:00    Cuba v Mexico

July 21

15:00    Venezuela v Mexico

17:00    Costa Rica v Puerto Rico

19:00    Dominican Republic v Cuba

21:00    Colombia v Trinidad & Tobago

July 22

15:00    Trinidad & Tobago v Costa Rica

17:00    Cuba v Venezuela

19:00    Mexico v Dominican Republic

21:00    Puerto Rico v Colombia

 Women’s Year by Year Podiums at CACG

Year Gold Silver Bronze

Women’s Volleyball Composite Medal Table

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
CUB 8 2 1 11
DOM 6 1 4 11
MEX 3 7 3 13
PUR 0 5 1 6
VEN 0 2 5 7
PAN 0 0 1 1
AHO 0 0 1 1
CRC 0 0 1 1
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Cuban Flag, First to Wave in the Center-Caribbean Village

The Cuban flag became today the first to wave in the Center-Caribbean Village, after the official lifting ceremony in which the national anthem of the Antillean Island was also sung.

Approximately 100 members of the Cuban delegation met under the constant strong sun and heat in this city of northern Colombia, representing the over 700 athletes and coaches that make up the entire representation.

The mayor of the Village, Patricia Puccini, showed her enthusiasm in welcoming the Cubans, whom she identified as one of the great animators of the Central American and Caribbean Games, that will start next Thursday, and expressed her desire to make a big star role, as has been the practice for several decades.

The head of the Cuban Mission, Antonio Becalli, thanked Cuba for being the first country to see its national flag waving.

So far, representatives of 30 countries have arrived at the facility and tomorrow the arrival of the 37 delegations that will attend the multisport event in Central America and the Caribbean will be completed, according to Jose Fernando Espinosa, Protocol Director of the event.

On Wednesday will be the culmination of the arrival of the Central Caribbean flame to the Village, where it will rest until Thursday that it will travel its final route to the Roberto Melendez Stadium, where the opening ceremony will take place.

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Mijain Lopez and his scope targeting Barranquilla

In snipers’ terminology, it could be said that Cuban Greco-Roman wrestler Mijain Lopez has only one target in his scope: the Central American and the Caribbean Games to be held July 19-August 3 in Barranquilla.

Believe it or not, Mijain has just won one gold medal in this sort of games and it occurred in Veracruz 2014.

It is certainly surprising that such a high-ranked wrestler (three Olympic gold medals, five gold medals in World Championships) has only grabbed one title in Central American Games.

He participated in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, in 2016, but the small number of five wrestlers deprived him of winning the title. Cuba did not participate in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in 2010 due to safety issues with the delegation.

How is everything going so far?

I am focused on my training. Everything is all right and I am injury-free this time. Thus, I can look for the result everyone wants. And this is no other than the first place in my category 130 kg.

I will not face tough opponents in Barranquilla. But I always respect the opponents and I never underestimate them. However, I tell my people I will go out there looking for the gold medal.

How do you feel physically?

I am ready to go. I feel full of energy and vigor. As I have said before, my sole rival is my weight and the rule changes of my sports.

Was it profitable the rest you took last year?

It was great after so many years of sport career. I rejuvenated myself. I feel awesome right now.

After the Central American Games, are you planning to go to the World Championship to be held in Hungary in October?

The technical staff and I decided that it is better that Oscar Pino has another chance. He did pretty well last year by winning a bronze medal in the World Championship held in Paris, France.

Besides, the trainers are doing an excellent job with me. They are focusing on my physical shape for Tokyo 2020 without serious injuries or fatigue.

Last March, in the tournament to get the tickets for Barranquilla, you were involved with your partners giving them advises…Would you like to train in the future?

Yes, I do like it. It would be very special to convey my experiences to younger athletes. I try to teach them everything I have learned as wrestler.

How do you see the wrestling team of Cuba?

The boys are all right. They are enthusiastic and want to win. I am pretty sure we can win the six gold medals in Barranquilla. This goal is perfectly feasible.

You can achieve the feat of winning four gold medals in the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020. What is your comment on this?

I would like to go step by step. But I can say one piece of advice. It is better my opponents train hard as I will go all in to win my gold medal. It will be the perfect closure for my career.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz//CubaSi Translation Staff

Around 400 Cuban Athletes to Compete in the 2918 Barranquilla Games

Cuba has 396 athletes that classified in 219 competitions for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, as reported by Antonio Miranda, director for High Performance at the Cuban Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation.

The expert said the places for Cuban athletes were distributed among 218 men and 179 women that will compete in 24 disciplines in the aforementioned Colombian city from July 19 to August 3.

Miranda explained that the goal is to include approximately 500 athletes, a number that exceeds in more than 20 the places in the previous edition of the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz .

For that purpose, there are still classification tournaments left in several disciplines, such as taekwondo, boxing, karate, wrestle, racquetball and dive, which will be fought in March.

The last places in swimming, athletics, tennis and triathlon will be disputed in June.

The official announced that the games in Barranquilla will grant tickets in 15 sports for the 2019 Pan-American Games in Lima.

  • Published in Sports

Barranquilla 2018: The Power of Cuba Grows Difficult

Cuba will try to keep the Center-Caribbean hegemony that holds since Panama 1970 in Barranquilla 2018, the path is very complicated and the drive of countries like the host country Colombia and Mexico.

Almost after four years since Veracruz 2014 is the most recent experience. Many will remember that the struggle in the medals board between Cuba and the host country was neck-to-neck, defined with a spectacular closing by the athletics (23-15-8) that launched Cuba to the top of the medals board retaining the condition of kings in the global board (123-66-65). Mexico (115-106-111), Colombia (70-75-78) and Venezuela (56-79-110) came next. Mexicans fixed a chronogram, including a few sports like squash to their advantage, which doesn’t mean they have had boost in quality in the last years in several sports. Therefore the open struggle with Cubans.

Is no secret the fact that sports have experienced a sudden development after the Olympic Games of Barcelona 1992. Several variables have helped: limitless merchandizing, meteoric ascent of sport shows as the stage of a very profitable industry in the rising, nationalization of sportsmen and talent drain for more profitable horizons…

The point is our athletes are not immune to all that. I recall the fencer Taimí Chappé and the handball player Rolando Urios, two examples that began the drain in the early 90’s of the last century.

Back to the Center-American and the Caribbean Games, also keeping in mind the shortage of resources to sustain a sport infrastructure. Comparable to that of first-world countries, the idea here is to claw to what has been conquered until now, even when the qualitative panorama is not as promising as 25 years ago.

Many nations in the area and others around the world have understood that sports and its growth are fertile grounds for development, while it reflects on social life. It’s exactly for that reason they have poured so much interest and budget into this activity even at unsuspected levels.

Colombia is a good example. In the last decade has experienced breakthroughs in both sport infrastructure and facilities, as results, majorly supported by the knowledge of other countries. Weightlifting, athletics, judo, cycling, are among the sports with greater progress, and keeping in the horizon the Games of Barranquilla August 3-19, 2018, with an estimated attendance 5 854 athletes will struggle in 36 sports representing 37 countries.

We are talking about the condition of Colombians as host country to register in all sports in competition, even those where they are not strong. Just as Mexicans did four years ago. Of course from my perspective right now Mexico is still a contestant to beware more than Venezuela.

Mathematically the more medals are distributed among those Center-Caribbean nations, next to Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and many other solo sportsmen from other countries, fewer will be the medals Cuban will win.

In Veracruz 19 countries won at least one gold medal and maybe after 11 months that same figure or more win a gold medal in Barranquilla.

What we have tried to explain in this column is that every new edition of world or multiple events regardless its reach it will contain a greater degree of complexity for our teams. Barranquilla will be a test of considerable rigor, with the pressure of Colombians and Mexicans as tough rivals. Let’s trust we can keep the first position on the medal board, with athletics, judo, boxing, wrestling, rowing, canoeing, weightlifting, cycling, artistic gymnastics, again as main events.

All doubts will be cleared in less than six months and reality will be known, as part of the current Olympic cycle that will end in the Olympic games of Tokyo 2020.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

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