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Unknown Facts About Cuba’s Athletes
DID YOU KNOW…
Taismari Aguero was born and raised in Cuba before becoming a naturalized Italian citizen. She is one of the most famous volleyball players of the 2000s. Under the hands of Taismari Aguero, Cuba won the gold medal in volleyball at the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia. However, she escaped to Italy in 2001 and after winning a national team call-up she became the first natural volleyball player to score for Italy. Perhaps her greatest triumph was captaining her new country to its first World Cup victory in Tokyo, Japan, in 2007. Ironically, Italy, led by the incredible play of Taismari Aguero, defeated Cuba 3-0 (27 -25, 25-19, 25-16) in the finals.
Cuba did not send a boxing team to the 1985 World Cup in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Why? Because Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz did not recognize South Korea as an independent and sovereign country. There were many famous boxers who did not go to Korea: Juan Torres Odelin, Pedro Orlando Reyes, Arnaldo Mesa Borell, Jesus Sollet Tomasen, Adolfo Horta Martinez, Eduardo Correa Ferrer, Candelario Duvergel Odelin, Angel Espinoza Capo, Julio Quintana Martinez, Pablo Romero Hernandez and Teofilo Stevenson Lawrence.
Ramon Fonst Segundo has won more Olympic gold medals than Teofilo Stevenson (boxing), Alberto Juantorena Danger (track and field), Mireya Luis Hernandez (volleyball) and Felix Savon Fabre (boxing). Who is he? Ramon Fonst was a famous fencer in the 1900s, 1920s and 1930s.
He was born into a sporting family in the Cuban capital, Havana, on August 31, 1883. His father was a sportsman in the 1870s and 1880s. Like Jose Raul Capablanca (chess) and Eligio Sardinas Montalvo (boxing), he was an athlete who always competed with a love for Cuba.
Ramón Fonst won 125 medals in competitions held in Europe, Latin America and North America. At the 1900 Olympics in France, Ramon won the gold medal in the epee event, and at the 1904 Summer Olympics in the United States, he won three gold medals. In 1926, he won two gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico City. Ramon Fonst is certainly the greatest Latin American athlete of the 20th century.
In the early 1990s, a large number of athletes began to leave their country due to poor economic conditions there and severe treatment by the secret police. Many sought asylum in the United States, Spain and Canada.
Cuba sent 2 athletes to the 2003 World University Games, held in Daegu, South Korea. These were Yordanis Arencibia and Yurileidys Lupetey (judo).
Boycott of the 1987 World Junior Volleyball Championship by Cuba. The place: South Korea. For the first time since 1978, Cuban volleyball players did not participate in an Olympic tournament. The Cuban team did not defend its world title it had won in Rome two years earlier.
Cuba sent 120 athletes to the 1973 World Student Games, held in Moscow, Soviet Union (now Russia). The Cuban contingent participated in nine Olympic sports: basketball, athletics, fencing, gymnastics, volleyball, water polo, diving, tennis and wrestling. The best athlete was Alberto Juantorena, who won a gold medal in the men’s 400 meters.
The Second Baseball World Cup was played in 1939 in Cuba. Three teams took part and the hosts defeated Nicaragua in the final in Havana.
In 2006, Osmany Juantorena Portuondo was the 18th Cuban athlete to be expelled for doping. He is the grandson of Alberto Juantorena.
The Cuban dictatorship restricts the sports people’s contacts with non-allied nations (especially South Korea, Poland, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Hungary and the Czech Republic). It allows a few Cuban athletes to travel outside the country.
DID YOU ALSO KNOW THAT:
Like Alexandre Alekhine (France), Bobby Fischer (USA) and Garry Gasparov (Russia), experts consider Jose Raul Capablanca y Graupera one of the most important chess players of the twentieth century. He won the title of world chess champion from 1921 to 1927.
Where was Jose Capablanca born? He was born on November 19, 1888, in Havana.
The problem of illegal drug use among Cuban athletes closed the competition at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. The most notable expulsion was the Cuban weightlifter, Daniel Nunez, who had won a gold medal at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, URSS. He was elected athlete of the year for 1982 by Prensa Latina.
Jorge Enrico Blanco was one of Cuba’s best known and most loved boxers. Why? In 1967, he won the Pan American lightweight title.
In the 1904 Olympic Games, the Cuban fencing team won 8 medals (3 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze).
Maria Teresa Mora Iturralde was a famous chess player. In 1922, he won the Cuban National Chess Championship.
Between 1954 and 1968, Bertha Diaz won 258 gold medals. At the Pan American Games in 1955, he won the 60-meter sprint and qualified for the 1956 Olympics. Unfortunately, he escaped from Cuba in the 1960s when it became a communist dictatorship. In 1956, he set a new Pan American record of 11.20 seconds in the 80-meter hurdles.
In February 1950, Rafael Emilio Fortun Chacon set a new Cuban and world record in the 100-meter sprint at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Guatemala City. He was born on August 5, 1919, in Camaguey, Cuba.
Manuel Sanguily became the first Cuban swimmer to qualify in the finals of the Olympic Games, where he finished seventeenth in the world in the 200-meter breaststroke competition in Australia in 1956.
The Cuban volleyball team is a disaster. Why? Because more than 14 volleyball players sought political asylum in Europe and Puerto Rico (2001-2007). They included: Raydel Poey, Yasser Portuondo, Javier Gonzalez, Javier Brito, Maikel Salas, Yosleider Cala, Osvaldo Hernandez, Dennis Angel, Alexis Battle, Laseer Romero, Ramon Gato, Jorge Luis Hernandez, Ihosvany Hernandez and Leonel Marshall.
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