High hopes for Cuban pentathletes
Marlon Vega González
FEW days remain until the curtains open on the 22nd
Central American and Caribbean Games, taking place
in Veracruz, Mexico from November 14-30, where six
Cuban athletes, three male and female, will compete
in the modern pentathlon.
José Ricardo Figueroa and Leidy Laura
Moya principal figures of the
Cuban modern pentathlon.
Given the results achieved by both the Cuban male
and female teams’ in the discipline, the pentathlon
could be one of the sports in which the Cuban
As versatile head coach Alejandro Guarsh, explained
to the press, the aim during this year’s tournament
will be to surpass the performance in Cartagena de
Indias 2006 Games, Cuba’s last appearance in
competition, winning four silver medals.
All athletes must perform to their best in a sport
which has seen notable advances, above all in the
last four years, not only in the athletes, leaders
in every event, but also in the coaching staff, now
including Arturo Avelenda; José
Cruz; Dr. Rolando Borges; psychologist Zuani Gómez
Ortíz, among others, who demonstrate on a daily
basis that the achievements in this sport in Cuba
are not a matter left to chance, but rather due to
knowledge and commitment.
The modern pentathlon includes
fencing, 200 meters freestyle swimming,
show jumping, and a final combined event of
pistol shooting, and a 3,200 meter
cross-country run. The competition has both male and
female individual events, in addition to a men’s,
women’s and mixed relay.
The Cuban female selection includes Leidy Laura Moya,
Youth Olympics Champion Singapore 2010, Iliannis
Manzano and Elianis Camora. If the average age of
these three athletes - 20 – is considered, clearly
“the future is the present.”
Participating in the men’s team are Qatar 2013
silver medalist José Ricardo Figueroa, Yaniel
Velázquez and Lester Der.
This selection has the necessary ability to lead the
competition and secure medals in all events,
including some gold. In the case of the women’s
team, Tamara Vega has shown consistent improvement
and today, in the opinion of some, is the favorite
in the individual category, not forgetting Cuba’s
principal figure, Leidy Laura, who has proven to be
a talented athlete.
Cuba’s top medal winner in the men’s team, Figueroa,
should perform well in the individual and relay,
after having triumphed in both categories at the Pan
American Sports Festival, held last month in Mexico,
without disregarding his main rivals, Mexicans
Ismael Hernández and Manuel Padilla, who have also
achieved good results in recent years.
Another detail which must be considered is that the
tournament will take place in Xalapa, one of the
competition’s secondary venues, 1,500 meters above
sea level, adapting to which is always a challenge
for our athletes. However the selection arrived in
Mexico on October 29 and has since been
acclimatizing and finalizing preparations for the
During the last Central American and Caribbean
Games, in which Cuba did not participate, Mexico was
crowned king of the modern pentathlon, and is this
year competing on home ground, making them a more
In a few days we will know for sure what the Cuban
pentathletes can do.