Cuban Weightlifting in 2019: Milestones and Challenges…

Cuban weightlifting ended the 2019 season with some milestones and setbacks, but there are plenty of reasons to feel optimistic with regard to the Olympic Games next year and the upcoming four-year period.

The peak of the season was starred by Cuban women weightlifters who won the first medals ever for the country in a World Championship. Stellar performances such as Ludia Montero’s in Pattaya, Thailand, proved me right.

The young woman won two silver medals (snatch and biathlon) in the 45 kg division, a performance that will be always remembered and certainly ranked as one of the most important sports achievements of the year in Cuba.

Then, we shall praise the silver medal won by Luis Manuel Lauret (109+ kg) at the Pan American Games held in Lima, which became the only Pan American medal earned by Cuba in this sports discipline at Mariscal Caceres Coliseum.

The performance of Cuban weightlifters in Lima was grosso modo disappointing. Several athletes did not meet their expectations and other young competitors showed they are not quite ready for first-level competitions just yet.

This situation, in the words of Jorge Luis Barcelan, National Commissioner and President of Cuban Weightlifting Federation, requires a different approach with regard to the next Olympiad.

Nonetheless, the season showed that there is a new generation of weightlifters coming with a promising future. The number of young weightlifters registered at the ESFAAR Cerro Pelado as well as the results achieved in continental competitions prove it.

Important to highlight the organization of the Pan American Junior Weightlifting Championship held in Havana alongside the Memorial Suarez. Cuba achieved positive results in both events.

Women weightlifters stood out in the Pan American Junior Championship as they topped the ranking in total points. The excellent performance carried out by Ludia Montero in the 49 kg division with an absolute win; the bronze medal earned by Andrea Gonzalez (59 kg, jerk and clean); the silver medals earned by Melisa Aguilera (76 kg); two gold medals and one bronze medal by Talia Hurtado (81 kg), Ana Maria Milian’s (87 kg) two silver medals, and the bronze medal by Eyurkenia Duverger (87+ kg) were some of the top performances of the Cuban delegation.

But men did not trail behind. Arley Calderon (2-0-1) and Otto Oñate (0-1-0) in the 61 kg division; Miguel Castro (0-2-0) and Edisnel Corrales (0-0-1) in 67 kg; Ariolvis Begue (0-2-1) in 81 kg; and Juan Carlos Zaldivar (1-2-0) in 96 kg performed pretty well.

These and other athletes make up the reserve team from where this sports discipline — aiming at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 — will certainly nourish from in the future.

AS of the Pan American event, Calderon (bronze medal, jerk and clean) and Oñate (bronze medal, snatch) got their medals in 61 kg, as well as Juan Columbié (0-1-2) in 109 kg, while Lauret’s results were (1-2-0) in 109+ kg.

The girls, on the other hand, boasted the bronze medal earned by Melisa Aguilera in snatch, 76 kg and Talia Hurtado’s bronze medals in 81 kg. Marina Rodriguez (64 kg) and Ludia Montero (49 kg) ended 5th in their respective divisions.

Finally, it is paramount to highlight the work done to reach the Olympic tickets. Therefore, there are several athletes with real chances to be eligible according to the ranking.

The trainers’ idea is to qualify two athletes of different gender per division for Tokyo 2020, but luckily this number may potentially increase.

This will be the first goal of the upcoming season. In this line, Cuba is getting ready to participate in the Pan American tournament and take advantage of the 2020 Memorial Suarez to be held in March.

There is a lot of weight to lift, but optimism reigns.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

From Lima to Havana: Exhaustive Analysis and Encouraging Future

The 18th Pan American Games Lima 2019 are all in the past. They were a resounding success, full of extreme competitiveness, deeds, tears, and glory; a marvelous host city in every single sense.

Le crème de la crème of sports in America competed in Lima. More than one hundred Olympic champions attended the sports event. Hundreds of world championship medalists…new talents, etc…Nobody wanted to miss Lima 2019.

Cuba was there amid such brilliance. This time, the delegation ended fifth (33-27-38). The total of gold medals was not so low since the Pan American Games held in Cali in 1971 —where we ended in second place.

The truth is the sports arena in now quite different to that of the last years of the 20th century when Cuba, after reigning the Pan American Games held in Havana in 1991, experienced its glory days behind the United States.

From Santo Domingo 2003 (72-41-39) to date, the tendency in performance and results —not only in gold medals— has dropped: Rio de Janeiro 2007 (59-35-41), Guadalajara 2011 (58-35-43), and Toronto 2015 (36-27-34).

Many variables have influenced this performance and we are going to mention some. But before, let’s see what occurred in Lima 2019.

The goal was to outperform Toronto 2015 and consequently, to improve that fourth place. Now, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, and Canada ended ahead of us this time. To achieve these goals, we had had to earn 38 titles, five more than the actual result.

At first sight, many will dive into some sports disciplines that underachieved such as taekwondo, weightlifting, artistic gymnastics, cycling, baseball, wrestling, and judo despite its five gold medals.

And that is a reality.

For example, track and field achieved 18 gold medals in Guadalajara 2011. Meanwhile, Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019 just contributed with 5 gold medals.

There is one irrefutable reason. Sports have become a very lucrative activity. And consequently, the amount of money invested in its development by every nation is increasingly higher, especially in infrastructure, state-of-the-art technology, coach hiring, counseling or highly skilled personnel, as well as the talent drain.

Having this picture into account, Cuba has tried hard to maintain its sports power status that once boasted. But it is like going against the tide as we have lost the opportunity to develop quality training camps that we used to carry out especially with the former Soviet Union and other former socialist countries.

Hence, Cuba has challenged the economic shortage to maintain one of the Revolution’s greatest achievement. And such sustainability relies heavily on an evolutionary pyramid that starts on the early stage of sports fundamentals clinging on the ideals of Sports for All, the increasingly vanishing of sports facilities, special areas to practice, meticulous recruitment processes, mountain Olympiads…to name a few.

As a self-preservation method, our nation has turned to a strategy that follows the will of the country, not only to make profits in the exports of goods and services, but also with the goal of cooperating and contributing with the development of third world countries as a strong expression of solidarity of the Cuban people.

That is why it was easy to see some outstanding athletes like Yulimar Rojas, Aline Ferreira, and Albaro Rudesindo being trained by Cuban coaches.

We are referring to sports disciplines such as track and field, judo, wrestling, boxing, taekwondo, weightlifting…

We witnessed a new generation of talented athletes in Lima.

Adriana Rodríguez, Vanessa Godínez, Reinieris Andreu, Luis Enrique Zayas, Yusneylys Guzmán, Luis Manuel Lauret. Eliani Cámara, Gretel Mendoza, Alejandro y Huber, Elisbeth Gámez, Osvel Caballero, Mahyvianet Borges…all of them managed to crown endless days of hard training, sacrifice, to win their medals. Even better, the future looks bright right now.

The Pan American Games Lima 2019 resulted in a disappointed event. It is true all of our athletes did their best. However, some did not perform well in the clutch time.

Let’s avoid at all costs our nation enters into an extended decline. Other events await.

Let’s do everything humanly possible. Tokyo 2020 is right around the corner

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz/CubaSi Translation Staff


In an entertaining and heavily contested match, Brazil imposed their will on Argentina for a final score of 30 to 21 to win both a gold medal and a golden ticket to the Olympic Games next year.

Brazil and Argentina arrived at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games with their best Handball teams in search of tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. So it was not a surprise that both teams starred in the Grand Final of the Pan Am Games in Peru.

In an extremely exciting duel, there was no rest for either team and the score was deadlocked at 12 after the first 30 minutes of action, reflecting the parity of the teams.

However, during the halftime, the green and yellow squad made a tactical change, pressed harder and left everything on the court in search of victory.

They began to cement an insurmountable advantage over the team wearing the albiceleste flag in the second half. Crucial to Brazil’s success were the talented players Adriana Cardoso, Larissa Araujo and the goalkeeper Renata Arruda.

Finally, Brazil won by a clear 30 to 21 margin and Carnival broke out in the VIDENA sports complex.

Brazil not only has a new gold medal to their name, but also won the ultimate jackpot of reaching the top handball tournament in the world that will take place next year at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

After a hard fought final, Argentina took home the silver medal and the bronze went to Cuba.

  • Published in Sports

Near the Podiums – Pan Am Games 2019

An exciting competition day allowed us to know who are close to getting the yearned medals of the XVIII Pan Am Games 2019, held in Lima, Peru.

Tomorrow, Quarter Finals will be played at the Sport Center 3 of the National Sport Village of San Luis, Lima, starting at 9am (local time).

Second day started with tough matches in Mixed Doubles. Mexican duo Lino Muñoz and Haramara Gaitan defeated Ryan Chew/Kuei-Ya Chen (USA) after 3 games (19-21, 21-18, 24-22) and will play Quarter Finals against seeded 1 duo, Hurlburt-Yu/Wu (CAN).

“We are very happy for this triumph. We are focused on doing the best we can and so the results are happening. We don’t have much time playing together but we have the desire and the heart to do our best and win a medal. We have confidence in that each one will do his/her best and that motivates us. Team Mexico is united and we have come to give it our all.” refered Muñoz and Gaitan after their match.

Also, young athletes from Brazil, Fabricio Farias and Jaqueline Lima, are highlighting in this Pan Am Games. They got a victory against Leodannis Martinez/Yeily Ortiz (CUB) by 21-17, 21-17 and hope to defeat Dominican duo Nelson Javier/Nairoby Jimenez in Quarter Finals.
Locals Diego Mini and Danica Nishimura (featured image) also reached Quarter Finals after defeat Andres Lopez/Sabrina Solis (MEX) in an exciting match with a very loud colosseum.

“We feel a lot of excitement playing here, we feel everyone’s encouragement in the colosseum from the moment we enter the court until the end. We try to play the best we can, with confidence, calm, and focused on giving all of us. For tomorrow we want the same attitude of today, we had never played together with such a good attitude before and that was reflected in the result. Thank you all for the support you give us.”, said Mini and Nishimura after their match, and now they will prepare to compete against seeded 2 duo, Howard Shu and Paula Lynn Obanana (featured image) from USA.

In Men’s Singles, Luis Montoya continues to surprise at this championship. He defeated Artur Pomoceno (BRA) yesterday, and Cristian Araya (CHI) today, with a very consistent game. In Quater Finals, Montoya will face defending champion Kevin Cordon (GUA) who won his match against Samuel Ricketts (JAM) and is focus on reach the podium:

“Thank God I have the opportunity to be in my fifth Pan American Games. The objective and commitment is the same so we are moving forward and we are one step away from getting a medal. Pressure will always be there, regardless of the previous results, and the goal is what keeps one standing. It is important to keep the commitment, responsibility and concentration but you also have to enjoy it, that is what one has passion for.” refered Kevin after his victory.

Pan Am Junior Champion 2019. Brian Yang (CAN), also reached Quarter Finals after defeat Andres Lopez (MEX). Now, he will face Pan Am Champion 2019, Osleni Guerrero (CUB) to reach the medal.

Peru’s Daniela Macias conquered a new victory in Women’s Singles, this time against Adriana Valero (MEX) by 21-11, 21-12, now, in Quarter Finals, she will face Olympic athlete Iris Wang (USA) who defeated Katherine Wynter (JAM).

Pan Am Champion Michelle Li moves steadily towards gold. Li defeated Lauren Villalobos (CRC) and will compete against Haramara Gaitan (MEX), who overcome Jaqueline Lima (BRA) in 2 tight games (22-20, 21-19).

In Doubles, Brazil’s duo Francielton Farias and Fabricio Farias defeated locals Jose Guevara and Daniel La Torre in a tough match (21-12, 19-21, 21-12) and will face Jonathan Solis and Rodolfo Ramirez (GUA) in Quarter Finals.

Also Brazilians Fabiana Silva and Tamires Santos (featured image) reached the victory in a 3 games match against Nikte Sotomayor and Diana Corleto (GUA) with a score 14-21, 22-20 and 21-16. Now, Silva/Tamires can reach Semifinals if they defeat Chile’s duo Constanza Naranjo/Ashley Montre tomorrow at Quarter Finals match.

“We are very happy with this victory because in a previous tournament we lost against them and today we were able to beat them in a good game, with a lot of courage and desire to do things well. Now we focus to win the next game, we must work point by point.” said Brazil’s duo Silva/Santos after their match today.

Some seeded pairs will start competition tomorrow and we will continue to enjoy the best badminton of our region.

Let’s all play badminton!!!

  • Published in Sports

Cuba Wins Gold Medal in Pan American Canoeing

Cuba won its fifth gold medal at the XVIII Pan American Games Lima-2019 this Monday through the canoeing pair composed by Mahivianet Borges and Katherin Nuevo in the C-2 at a distance of 500 meters.

The Cuban pair reached the finish line in 56 seconds and 661 hundredths of a minute, ahead of Chileans Karen Rocco and Maria Mailliard who arrived in 1:59:158, while for third place came the Canadians in Anne Lavoeiparent and Rowan Hardykavanagh with 2:02:216.

After this gold medal, Cuba ascends to the fifth seat by nations, displacing Colombia, with five gold, three silver and two bronze, behind the United States (10-9-7), Mexico (9-5-12), Brazil (6-4-7) and Argentina (6-2-4).

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Cuban Boxers Aspire to Dominate Pan-American Games in Lima

Cuba's ten-strong boxing team aspires to dominate the sports program at the Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, from July 26 to August 11, Jit magazine reported on Sunday.

'We come to Lima for all gold medals,' the team's head coach, Rolando Acebal, told reporters during a training session in the Peruvian capital.

'We always talk about seven titles, because the analyses take into account the outlook in certain divisions, assessing the rivals and the reduced practice of our representatives, but today I do not exagerate when I take for granted that everyone is fit to win,' the trainer pointed out a few days before the inauguration of the continental games.

Acebal explained that 'when we talk about fighting for all titles we summarize the willingness of the boys, who are aware that this has been the main goal throughout the training' of a group with a high technical-tactical level.

The coach highlighted 'their huge commitment to success' and assured that once again 'the country's leadership can trust us'.

The Cuban delegation is made up of Yosbany Veitia, Lazaro Alvarez, Andy Cruz, Roniel Iglesias, Arlen Lopez, Erislandy Savon, Damian Arce, Osvel Caballero and Dainier Pero.

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Haiti among 17 Countries that Has Entered All Pan Games

Haiti is one of the 17 countries that has entered athletes in all the Pan American Games since its first edition in 1951 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Of those 17 nations, only Haiti and Nicaragua have not won a gold medal. So far, Haitians have won seven medals, two silver and five bronze, and stand 31 in the continental ranking by nations, preceded by Virgin Islands and Barbados with 15 and 10 medals, respectively, and followed by Dominica with three.

For the games of Lima 2019, which will begin on July 26, Haiti entered eight athletes to compete in track and field, judo, taekwondo, rowing, weight-lifting and swimming. Its sports authorities expect to surpass the performance of Toronto 2015 and win the first gold medal.

The top medal winner is the USA with 4,300 medals, 1,948 of them gold, followed by Cuba with 875 golden trophies and a total of 2,026 medals.

Almost 7,000 athletes will compete in 39 sports, some of which will qualify athletes for the Olympic Games of Tokyo 2020.

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Mijain Lopez, a Cuban Legend for Making More History

Sports Ambassador of the Pan American Games Lima-2019 and emblematic figure, the Cuban wrestler Mijain Lopez is set for making more history.

If possible, we would say when talking about Lopez's achievements, the giant wrestler of 1.96 m, who, at 36, is still interested in increasing his records, including three Olympic gold medals, three Pan-American gold medals and four World Cups in Greco-Roman wrestling.

'The truth is that I am pretty motivated and confident that I will be able to provide the Cuban people with more satisfaction and to myself as well,' he told Prensa Latina.

After being appointed once afresh the flag-bearer of the Cuban delegation to compete in Lima-2019 (from July 26), Mijain Lopez admitted that he is being training so hard so as to reach two major goals.

He longs for winning in Lima-2019 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, by completing one of the most important sports work regarding the Greco-Roman wrestling.

'To make these new dreams come true it takes a great deal of sacrifice and motivation. I am truly aware of seriousness which I must take on the hard work to come, perhaps the most complicated in my whole sports career,' he stated.

  • Published in Sports
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