Political Prisoners of the Empire  MIAMI 5     

     

S P O R T S

Havana.  November 7, 2014

Veracruz becomes the capital of Central American and Caribbean sport
• Beginning November 14, the city will play host to the
XXII Central American and Caribbean Games, making Mexico
a four-time host of the competition

Oscar Sánchez Serra

Central America and the Caribbean are partying in the Mexican city of Veracruz. With the lighting of the flame on November 14, to mark the start of the twenty-second edition of the Games, the oldest regional games of the modern era, the fraternal struggle to be the fastest, strongest and highest in more than 40 sports will begin.

Mexico hosts this multi-sport event for the fourth time, having hosted the first edition in 1926, followed by those of 1954 and 1990. On this occasion, the host country is represented by 752 athletes, imbued with the potential that comes from being the host country and the development they have witnessed in recent years, creating high hopes of making history, and aiming to crown the top of the medals table when the flame is put out on the 30th.

The Cuban Greco-Roman wrestling star, Mijaín Lopez, is a strong candidate for a gold medal in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz.

This would involve ousting the biggest sports power in the region, Cuba, who with 543 athletes is committed to maintaining its seat of honor, which has not been lost since the first time it rose to the top, in the now distant 1970 edition in Panama.

This rivalry will color every date in the competition calendar. Mexico won more gold medals than any other country that participated in the jousts of San Salvador in 2002 and the last games in Mayagüez in 2010, both of which took place without the participation of Cuba, as the team was not guaranteed the minimal conditions as stipulated in the regulations of the International Olympic Movement.

Nor can the Venezuelan and Colombian teams be dismissed, and will be taken into account by the leading figures in the race for the seat of honor. The first arrived with 546 aspiring athletes and the second with 416, among whom are seven London 2012 Olympic medal winners.

Venezuela demonstrated a tenacious effort to remain at top of the medals table in Mayagüez. Four years ago, the country came in second with 116 gold medals, only 11 fewer than Mexico. Colombia also surpassed a hundred victories in the previous games, with 104 gold medals.

While the Central American and Caribbean Games do not have the same pedigree as the Pan American Games let alone the Olympics, they will nevertheless represent a major challenge for the Cuban delegation. If you consider that the team is arriving in the city after an eight year absence from this Central American and Caribbean athletic environment, the handicap appears even greater.

Yarisley Silva, from Guantanamo, part of the Cuban delegation to Veracruz, aspires to reach the top of the podium in the pole vault. Photo: Zimbio.

Of the 543 Cuban athletes in Veracruz, 467 are competing for the first time in this event, with the responsibility of maintaining the glory of the major figures of Cuban sports history, who stood out at the Central American and Caribbean Games. If we add to this that the delegation starts with the disadvantage of not having participated in 108 of the medal categories (almost 25% of the competitive events), you can appreciate the magnitude of the feat facing these young gladiators.

Athletics, boxing, judo, wrestling, taekwondo, karate, shooting, canoeing, rowing and weightlifting are some of the sports where the Cubans have their best chances, although in basketball (especially the women), volleyball (in this case the men), baseball, the two handball teams and field hockey, the Cubans have an equal chance of reaching the highest podium. The same applies to certain individuals in fencing, cycling and sailing.

Whatever the results, Cuba has announced that its principal sporting objective is to continue to contribute to this, the main sports event in the region, and with that resolve, the Island has brought together its best athletes, prioritizing these games over other important commitments.

As such, Cuba has also expressed that with regards to its aspirations, there is nothing left but to return to the top.
 

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