Twenty-four Cuba athletes will participate in IAAF World Championships

Cuba will attend with 24 athletes the World Athletics Championships of London, England, from August 4 to 13.

The list is headed by women Yarisley Silva, pole vaulter, and Denia Caballero, Beijing 2015 world monarchs; as well as the other discus thrower Yaime Perez, who ranked fourth in that same contest.

It is also notable the presence of decathlonist Leonel Suarez, double Olympic bronze medalist and runner-up in Berlin 2009 WC, and heptathlonist Yorgelis Rodriguez, Toronto 2015 Pan American champion and seventh seat in Rio 2016 Olympics.

The group also includes short hurdlers Roger Valentin and Yordan O'Farril, long jumpers Juan Miguel Echevarria and Maikel Masso, along with triple jumpers Andy Diaz, Lazaro Martinez and Cristian Napoles.

Roxana Gomez (women´s 400m), Yoandrys Lescay (men´s 400m), Rose Mary Almanza (women´s 800m), Liadagmis Povea (women´s triple jump), Yanniubis Lopez (women´s shot put), Zuriam Hechevarria (women´s 400m hurdles), José Luis Gaspar (men´s 400 m hurdles) and Dailin Belmonte (women´s marathon) will also be present in London.

Finally, the men's 4x 400 relay will include Adrian Chacon, Osmaidel Pellicier, Williams Collazo and Leandro Zamora.

In Beijing 2015 WC, Cuba ranked tenth with two gold and one silver medals.

  • Published in Sports

Marisleisys Duarthe won Cuba´s Five Gold Medal

Marisleisys Duarthe could have retired from the girls’ javelin final after the first round and she would have still walked away with the gold medal. But the Cuban continued churning out big throws round after round in an effort to improve on her own world U18 best of 65.44m.

Ultimately she was a couple of metres short of that mark, but she was rewarded with a championship record of 62.92m – a distance no other U18 girl in history has ever achieved.

She opened with 57.83m and improved on that with 57.90m in round two. Her winning throw came in round three; as soon as her spear landed comfortably beyond the 60-metre line, it was clear that the championship record was living on borrowed time. Moments later, the scoreboard confirmed it: her 62.92m added one metre and 45 centimetres to the previous record set by Australia’s Mackenzie Little in 2013.

Although she didn’t throw beyond 60 metres again, she rounded out her series with solid efforts of 55.45m, 54.05m and 58.82m, securing Cuba’s first world U18 javelin title.

As expected, Chinese duo Cai Qing and Dai Qianqian provided her stiffest opposition. It took a while for them to hit top form, though.

Cai was in fifth place going into the sixth round, but managed to pull out a 57.01m effort with her final throw.

Dai went from ninth to second with her 53.55m throw in round three, narrowly missing the half-way cut off. She consolidated her position in round five with a 54.96m effort before being overtaken by her teammate in round six.

Germany’s Julia Ulbricht had been in the bronze medal position from the third round onwards with 53.15m before being bumped out of the medals by Cai. Ulbricht had just one chance with which to respond, and she improved to a PB of 54.77m with her final effort, but it fell just short of a podium position.

Duarthe’s teammate Melissa Hernandez was in second place after two rounds, but eventually finished fifth.

  • Published in Sports

World Para Athletics in London: Durand and Company Onward

Next Friday 14th opens the World Para Athletics for disables at the Olympic Stadium of London.

It will be the eighth edition of these competitions. A total of 1 074 athletes from 92 countries will participate. They will struggle for the medals in the 213 sports included in the event.

Still fresh in the memory are the spikes, wheelchairs, guides, and joy cries when crossing the finish line left two years ago in Doha, when the participation record was shattered (1 230 sportsmen) and Cuba won place tenth among nations, with seven gold medals and two silvers, in China (41-26-18). Everyone remembers the flight of Omara Durand and Leinier Savón, especially Durand, winner of three medals and so many awards.

Her steps, and the shadow of her tall shape, flashing speed and her rivals breathing at her back ratified her as the fastest woman among the participants in the category T-12 (visual impairment) winning the 100-meter race in 11.48 seconds, the 200 meters in 23.03 and the 400 in 53.05.

Again Omara and her guide Yuniol Kindelán are the best choices for the Cuban team, who according to Coach Miriam Ferrer, have options to win medals in almost every competition they are in. One detail: Omara and Yuniol had officially trained together that same year in the Parapanamerican Games of Toronto.

Today it can be said they’ve reached great mastery in synchronization, since the reaction to the shot and the erect posture, to the arm swing and the strides on the track, what makes them one of the great attractions of the competition. In fact they both starred one of the promotional spots of the appointment.

Looking Inside the Bull’s eye

Cuba will have seven sportsmen in London and in advance I admit some nostalgia will hand over us because Yunidis Castillo, the daughter of wind, will be absent. Even when in Cuba we have some talents in-the-rising like Savón, Ernesto Blanco and Valerys, we will always miss Yunidis’s feats. Luckily her absence doesn't seem definitive.

Back to our main characters and despite counting on other athletes who could win, it’s worth highlighting that besides Omara and Savón, Luis Felipe Gutiérrez and Leonardo Díaz know what it means to win in a world competition. Let’s then take a closer look on our seven sportsmen:

Omara Durand: She is the fastest woman on earth among disables. We can surely rely on her. She has reached an excellent degree of understanding with her guide Yuniol Kindelán, to the point that their Coach Miriam Ferrer foretold another world surprise. Outgoing, she considers family, and especially her daughter Erika are two priceless treasures. Her favorite distance is the 200 meters and though she admits to be better in the second halves of the race, nowadays she is a very complete runner.

Leinier Savón: Omara’s peer among men. He hardly measures 1.63 meters, but he has a devilishly sprint, hence his reaction after the shot and the first 50 meters his strong points while running. He began the long jump and again he will participate in this sport in London. He has corrected his stroke technique, especially with his left arm and he already won the Paralympics medal. He holds a record of 10.61 in 100 meters, 22.06 in 200 and 6.74 in long jump.

Luis Felipe Gutiérrez: He can win in the long jump as well as the high jump. In the later he even seeks to break the world record which he holds with 2.06. Luis Felipe is really complete athlete, he also runs the 100, 200 and 400 meters and triple jump with world record included. Of course he must stretch over the 7.50 if he wants to win a medal in the long jump. This athlete of 1.85 meters high and 29 years old since Beijing 2008 has entered the elite panorama.

Leonardo Díaz: Redemption is the word in the case of the disc thrower from Granma province. He admitted not to be at his best in the technique, but he will reconquer the medal he lost in Rio de Janeiro, where the disc only reached 43.58 meters. If he is able to get close to his 45.32 meters, he can look forward to a medal. He began at age 18 in this discipline after an accident left him paraplegic when he was in the military service.

Ernesto Blanco: He was the surprise after winning in the 400 meters of the T-47 category. He crossed the finish line with his last breath, but he admits that when he feels OK, you have to count on him. With 29 years old and 1.96 meters high, he doesn't look like a sprinter and that makes you wonder from where he draws strength, because he is quite skinny. The truth is that those 48.79 seconds won him the number one in the ranking. Miriam always follows him closely, but he trusts her if she tells him that he is ready to "changanear", that is, to fight in the popular jargon.

Valerys Larrondo: Beginner in these competitions the 27 year-old young from Villa Clara can be the secret weapon or the ace up the sleeve. Without official records in world competitions, his progression has been unquestionable in the last year. He earned his place in the team and Miriam thinks that he can battle for a medal.

Well my friends, these are some important points of our seven sportsmen. Starting this Friday it will be known what they are made of in the Olympic stadium of London, perfect prelude for the World Championship that will welcome the same scenario next August.

  • Published in Sports

1,000 soldiers on streets as nervous Britain prepares for ‘imminent’ terror attack

Troops are being deployed to guard Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, and Parliament after Prime Minister Theresa May warned that another terror attack is “expected imminently.”

Meanwhile, a knifeman was arrested on The Mall outside Buckingham Palace on Wednesday morning just moments before the Queen passed by in a car on her way to an engagement at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

A picture shows the man sitting handcuffed on the ground surrounded by officers, with one holding what is believed to be a large blade that had been seized. The incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.

@KateProctorES Army just arrived at Parliament. @standardnews

@MrHarryCole Army just arrived at parliament. Mfl

The government says up to 984 armed military personnel will be deployed on Britain’s streets as part of ‘Operation Temperer’, which has been launched in the wake of the terrorist attack at a pop concert in Manchester. Twenty-two people were killed, including children, and 59 were injured when Salman Adebi, 22, blew himself up at Manchester Arena on Monday night.

Foreign Secretary Amber Rudd told Sky News that “people are likely to see some military on the streets.” The deployment is intended to free up armed officers for counter-terrorism operations.

On Tuesday night, the British government raised its terrorist threat level from ‘severe’ to ‘critical’ – the highest on the scale – meaning another attack is considered imminent. It was last raised to this level after the 2007 Glasgow airport bombing.

Security increased in London as terror alert raised to 'critical'

Rudd has noted that Monday’s attack was “more sophisticated” than previous ones, and “it seems likely – possible – that he wasn’t doing this on his own.”

On Wednesday morning, three more men were arrested in connection with the suicide bombing. Abedi’s brother, 23, was arrested on Tuesday. All four men are currently in police custody.

Mark Rowley, the head of national counter-terrorism policing, said in a statement that the investigation is “large scale, fast moving and making good progress.”

Police officers stand outside a residential property near to where a man was arrested in the Chorlton area of Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. © Stefan Wermuth

“I have asked for support from the military to be deployed alongside the police … This is part of an agreed and well-rehearsed plan, and military personnel will remain under the command and control of the police service,” he added.

Westminster Palace has been closed to the public in light of police advice, and will not re-open until further notice, a statement on its website said.

In addition, the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace was canceled on Wednesday in order to redeploy officers, the Ministry of Defence said.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan says he wants to reassure all Londoners and visitors that “everything possible” is being done to protect the city, and has urged people to remain “calm and vigilant.”

“Emergency services prepare day in, day out for these situations. Our plans are well rehearsed and well prepared,” he said.

“There will be additional police officers on London’s streets over the coming days including additional armed officers. You will also see some military personnel around London.”

@SadiqKhan The national threat level has been raised to 'critical'. Watch my statement on what this means for Londoners today.

  • Published in World

London Getting Ready for Pink Floyd Band Exhibition

Photographs and instruments, property of the band Pink Floyd, were installed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in this capital to open an exhibition on May 13, dedicated to the famous group, the museum confirmed today.

The exhibition includes 150 images, audiovisual materials, scenographic projects, hand written lyrics, promotional posters and other materials related to the band, which is considered as one of the most influential of the 2oth century.

Organized with the collaboration of band members Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason, the exhibition is entitled 'Pink Floyd: Its Mortal Remains' and is expected to exceed the one million and a half visits recorded during a tribute to David Bowie at the same museum.

According to the organizers, the initiative tries to cast, by means of a combination of formats, a retrospective look over the band's history and its contributions to rock and music in general.

Besides, it coincides with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the launch of its first album: 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn,' in 1967.

  • Published in Culture

Assange set to meet Swedish prosecutor for interview in Ecuador’s London embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is set to finally meet with Swedish prosecutors for an interview at the Ecuadorian embassy in London this month in a bid to end his four-year-long “diplomatic deadlock,” reports Reuters.

Ecuador has granted the Swedish request for legal assistance in criminal matters and the interview will be conducted by an Ecuadorian prosecutor," said the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

READ MORE: Assange: Clinton is a cog for Goldman Sachs & the Saudis (JOHN PILGER EXCLUSIVE VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT)

The interview will be conducted on November 14 by Swedish assistant prosecutor Ingrid Isgren and a Swedish police investigator, who will report any findings back to Sweden. The investigation concerns sexual assault allegations made against Assange in 2010, which he denies.

Assange has expressed concern that if he goes to Sweden to meet with authorities, he would be extradited to the US, which is investigating him for releasing government documents.

The 45-year-old has lived in Ecuador’s London embassy since being granted asylum there in 2012.

Assange’s stay has been fraught with controversy of late. The Ecuadorian embassy disabled his internet access two weeks ago after WikiLeaks continued to publish emails from the hacked account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta.

A week after Assange’s abrupt internet cut-off, rumors of his death began circulating online, leading his supporters to call for proof of life.

Hacktivist group Anonymous took down the Ecuadorian government’s webmail in retaliation.

READ MORE: Assange ‘shocked’ at Swedish refusal to grant leave for funeral of WikiLeaks director

Swedish prosecutors previously refused to temporarily suspend Assange’s arrest warrant to allow him to leave the embassy to attend the funeral of WikiLeaks director, Gavin MacFayden, or to visit hospital for an MRI.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found Assange to be “arbitrarily and unlawfully detained” by Sweden and the United Kingdom in February.

  • Published in World

Caravaggio exhibition reveals master of dark and light

An exhibition celebrating the work of the Italian renaissance painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who was hailed as the master of dark and light, opened on Thursday at the National Gallery in London.

The exhibition, titled "Beyond Caravaggio," consists of 49 paintings, exploring the work and influence of Caravaggio (1571-1610), who is regarded as one of the most revolutionary figures in Western art.

His original, emotionally charged paintings, with their intense naturalism, dramatic lighting and powerful storytelling, had a lasting impact on his successors.

Caravaggio did not have pupils or travel extensively, and he died at the relatively young age of 39, and yet his influence was widespread.

From 1600, artists from across Europe flocked to Rome to see his work, and many went on to imitate his naturalism and dramatic lighting effects. These included artists such as Orazio Gentileschi, Jusepe de Ribera and Gerrit van Honthorst.

Paintings by Caravaggio and his followers were sought after in the decades after his death, but fell out of favor by the middle of the 17th century.

Letitzia Treves, exhibition curator, told Xinhua: "Caravaggio breathed fresh life into familiar subjects and so was totally new. In his own day, his manner of painting was revolutionary. His novel aspect is his use of light, and his very particular use of light chiaroscuro."

"He used real models and painted real people. So, this combination of dramatizing scenes with strong lighting effects and painting real people in historical and biblical subjects made these pictures come alive," he added.

The exhibition runs at the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square until Jan. 17 next year.

  • Published in Culture
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