Monday, 13 August 2012

Cuba climbs Olympic rankings

The star of Cuba's Olympics - 18yr old Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana
Cuba smashed its Beijing gold medal haul to finish 15th in the overall medal table at London 2012. Although Cuba won a total of 24 medals in 2008 – compared to 14 in London – the fact they only won two gold medals in China meant that they finished 28th in the medal rankings. At the 2012 Games – with five gold medals achieved – the Cuban team soared 13 places up the rankings and finished as the highest placed team from Latin America & the Caribbean. Meanwhile, empiricists from the Royal Statistical Society have suggested that an ‘alternative’ medal table – weighted by GDP, population size, and team size – would place Cuba as eighth.
Mijain Lopez Nunez retained his Olympic gold

Cuba equalled its Beijing gold medal tally within the first week of competition as Idalys Ortiz claimed gold in the Women’s +78kg judo and Leuris Pupo secured Cuba’s first ever gold medal in the shooting as he fired his way to victory in the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol.

Elsewhere, Yanet Bermoy Acosta and Asley Gonzalez narrowly missed out on gold medals in the judo as they both won silver medals and Ivan Cambar Rodriguez claimed a bronze in weightlifting.

As the Olympics entered its second week, Mijain Lopez Nunez retained his Olympic gold from Beijing in the 120kg Greco-Roman wrestling in a heavyweight bout against Heiki Nabi. Compatriot Livan Lopez Azcuy won a bronze in the freestyle wrestling and Robelis Despaigne claimed Cuba’s only medal in taekwondo as he took home the bronze.

Leonel Suarez
Although Cuba will be disappointed after claiming only two medals in the track and field competitions, there were some outstanding individual performances. Leonel Suarez proved himself an exceptional all-round athlete after coming from behind to claim bronze in the men’s decathlon. He ranked first in the high jump and javelin.

Yarisley Silva lived up to her surname as she leapt to silver with an incredible performance in the women’s pole vault. Silva’s success perfectly demonstrates Cuba’s struggle against economic blockade enforced by America. As Cuban Olympic legend Alberto Juantorena revealed in an exclusive interview with CSC earlier this year:
“We cannot buy anything from the United States. If we want to buy a javelin, shoes or rice, we need to go via another country like China or Pakistan. It would be cheaper to go to the United States, but we cannot do it.

Two of our pole-vaulters – Lázaro Borges and Yarisley Silva – need equipment, but the pole they need is produced in the United States by UCS Enterprise and we cannot trade with them. Do you know how I got them five poles each for a tournament last month? I called a friend of mine in Mexico who was a former president of their association. I asked him to speak to UCS – even though they are friends of mine – and we had to get the poles via Mexico.”
Yarisley Silva claims Olympic silver
Despite struggling against shortages and adversity, Silva was able to jump to Olympic success. Elsewhere, there was bitter disappointment on the track as Dayron Robles pulled up injured in the 110m hurdle final.

After failing to win any boxing gold medals at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, Cuba re-confirmed itself as a dominant force in world boxing as the Olympic team took home four medals. Lazaro Alvarez Estrada (Men’s Bantam) and Yasniel Toledo Lopez (Men’s Light) both claimed bronze. Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo was imperious as he slugged his way to Men’s Lighter Welter gold but the undoubted star of the team was the 18-year-old Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana who was both dominant and sublime on his way to winning gold in the Men’s Fly.

In total, Cuba sent a squad of 110 athletes to compete in 14 of the 26 disciplines. It won a total of 14 medals: 5 Gold, 3 Silver and 6 Bronze. Since the inception of the modern Olympics – and having competed at 19 games – Cuba has won 208 medals in total, most of them gold (72 Gold - 67 Silver - 69 Bronze). Its best performances have been at Moscow 1980 (8-7-5), where it ranked fourth worldwide, and Barcelona 1992 (11-6-14), where it ranked fifth. 

Well done to all the Cuban athletes that competed at the London 2012 Olympics. You did yourselves – and Cuba – proud. And good luck to all the athletes competing in the Paralympic Games!

Missing the Olympics already? Why not buy our exclusive Team Cuba t-shirt? Or get the fantastic Sons of Cuba DVD – a powerful  and moving documentary which explores amateur boxing in Cuba and gives insight into Cuba’s incredible success on the international boxing scene.

No comments:

Post a Comment