With worst Pan result in 48 years, Cuba has road to goAugust 14, 2019
If Brazil set positive marks at the Pan American Lima Games, which ended on Sunday, such as its podium record (171) and gold medal (55), Cuba went the other way and sealed the worst campaign in 48 years.
On the downside, the country had plans to improve the performance of Toronto-2015 in the Peruvian capital, but despite a podium more than at that time, the Cubans did not reach the goal as they took three fewer gold.
They finished in fifth place with 98 medals, 33 gold, 27 silver and 38 bronze, a position below four years ago, when they earned 97 (36 gold, 27 silver and 34 bronze).
The campaign had not been so modest since Winnipeg-1967, when the country finished sixth. Between Cali-1971 and Guadalajara-2011, Cuba has never been outside the top-2, fueled by investments in the sector since Fidel Castro's rise to power in 1959. The leader, who died in 2016, made the sport a political flag. . But the lack of resources changed the scenario.
The greatest achievements in Lima were in fights, in disputes in which Cubans can still dominate. In boxing, they were the biggest victors, with eight golds, plus a silver and a bronze.
In judo, the country also led. There were 12 podiums, five gold, two silver and five bronzes. The Olympic fight helped lift Cubans into the medal table with five gold, two silver and nine bronze. They were second in this sport.
– We're the best in the world. We are always ready to do our best. I feel a lot of pressure because you're always preparing to compete and don't know if you can go wrong. There is a lot of tradition in Cuba. We have many champions and the next generation wants to become champions, ”said Cuban boxer Julio Cesar La Cruz Peraza, who won gold in the 81kg class after defeating Brazilian Keno Machado in the decision, and dedicated the win to Fidel and the Cuban people. .
Despite their success in rings and tatami mats, the smaller number of gold medals made Cuba outpace third-placed Mexico.
Traditionally among the top three Pan American champions, the Caribbean island reached the pinnacle of home wins in Havana 1991 when it led with 140 golds, almost double the 75 wins at Indianapolis 1987, when it totaled 265. Now say goodbye out of the top 3 for the second edition in a row.
Parallel to the economic crisis, one reason for the decline is the fact that the government has for years banned athletes from abroad from defending the Cuban team. The Brazilian Volleyball Team, for example, has the Leal pointer, who requested naturalization in 2015. He approached the nation after passing victory at Sada Cruzeiro, club for which he was crowned three times world champion (2013, 2015 and 2016) .
Since 2015, the government has relaxed its rules and accepted athletes competing abroad. Those who have fled are still prohibited, but were finally able to return to visit their families.
In late 2018, the Cuban sport celebrated a victory, the result of negotiations by the Barack Obama administration. The Cuban Baseball Federation struck a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) so that islanders could defend American teams, something the Cuba embargo does not allow. But in April this year, President Donald Trump vetoed the measure.
Fall is bigger at Olympic Games
The fall of Cuba is even more evident at the Olympic Games. The summit also took place in the early 1990s in Barcelona-1992, when it finished fifth with 14 gold medals and 31 in total. But since the Spanish Games, the nation has never been a major sporting power. And was out of the top-10 from Athens-2004.
The country bid farewell to Rio 2016 in 18th place overall with 11 medals: five gold (three in boxing and two in wrestling), two silver (one in judo and one in wrestling) and four bronze (three in boxing) and one in athletics). Already in London 2012, finished 16, with 15 (five gold, three silver and seven bronzes).
It is hard to imagine that Cuba could once again make it into the top ten on the overall medal table at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The most tangible goal will still be to outperform Rio-2016. That would be a small step in the process of arduous reconstruction in the country.
Cuba in the last Pan American Games
LIMA-2019: 33 gold – 27 silver – 38 bronze – 98 in total – 5th place
TORONTO-2015: 36 gold – 27 silver – 34 bronze – 97 in total – 4th place
GUADALAJARA-2011: 58 gold – 35 silver – 43 bronze – 136 in total – 2nd place
RIO-2007: 59 gold – 35 silver – 41 bronze – 135 in total – 2nd place
SANTO SUNDAY-2003: 72 gold – 41 silver – 39 bronze – 152 total – 2nd place
WINNIPEG-1999 70 gold – 40 silver – 47 bronze – 157 in total – 2nd place
MAR DEL PLATA-1995: 112 gold – 66 silver – 60 bronze – 238 total – 2nd place
HAVANA-1991: 140 gold – 62 silver – 63 bronze – 265 in total – 1st place
Cuba at the last Olympic Games
RIO-2016: 5 gold – 2 silver – 4 bronze – 11 in total – 18th place
LONDON-2012: 5 gold – 3 silver – 7 bronze – 15 in total – 16th place
BEIJING-2008: 3 gold – 10 silver – 17 bronze – 30 in total – 19th place
ATHENS-2004: 9 gold – 7 silver – 11 bronze – 27 in total 0 11th place
SYDNEY-2000: 11 gold – 11 silver – 7 bronze – 29 in total – 9th place
ATLANTA-1996 9 gold – 9 silver – 8 bronze – 25 in total – 8th place
BARCELONA-1992 14 gold 6 silver – 11 bronze – 31 total – 5th place
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