Monday, 6 August 2012

Cuba plunders gold in first week of Olympics to equal Beijing haul

Gold medal winner Idalys Ortiz

Despite a relatively slow start by its own high Olympic standards, Cuba equalled its Beijing gold medal haul in the first week of competition and peaked at 14th overall in the medal table.
Hot shot Leuris Pupo

Idalys Ortiz lead the field in judo as she claimed gold in the Women’s +78kg as the Cuban team continued its proud history of judo success. Compatriots Yanet Bermoy Acosta and Asley Gonzalez narrowly missed out on golds as they both won silver medals. Although he failed to win a medal, Cuba’s Oscar Brayson caused a stir as he pinned 34st judoka Ricardo Blas Jr. Blas Jr is more than 10 stone heavier than any other athlete in the Olympics - and 6st 10lbs heavier than the entire Japan women's gymnastics team.

Leuris Pupo shot his way to victory in the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol as he secured Cuba’s first ever gold medal in the shooting. Elsewhere, Ivan Cambar Rodriguez claimed the only bronze of Cuba’s campaign to date in weightlifting.

Although Cuba finished the week in 19th overall, it would be in the top 10 if ranked by GDP and number 13 if determined by population.
Yasnier Lopez Toledo

As the Olympics enter its second week, Cuba will be optimistic about increasing its medal tally. In the boxing, Lazaro Alvarez Estrada has already guaranteed at least a bronze following victory in his quarter-final bout. Yasnier Lopez Toledo, Robiesy Ramirez Carrazana, Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo and Julio la Cruz Peraza compete in their own quarter-finals over the coming days and victory will guarantee them a medal.

With strong Olympic wrestling pedigree, Cuba hopes to pick-up further medals on the matt whilst, in the athletics stadium, there are high hopes that Dayron Robles will defend his Olympic title. Other potential stars include Yarelys Barrios (F, Discus), Jorge Fernandez (M, Discus), Lazaro Borges (M, Vole Vault), Leonel Suarez (M, Decathlon), Yarisley Silva (F, Pole Vault) and Alexis Copello (M, Triple Jump). 

If these athletes perform anywhere near their potential, we should be hearing the Cuban national anthem – La Bayamesa – ring out a number of times yet across London.

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