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Havana.  Octobre 29, 2014

High hopes for Cuban pentathletes
in Veracruz

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.
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 delegation dominates.

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 competition.

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 challenging rival.

In a few days we will know for sure what the Cuban pentathletes can do.


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