Budapest 2023: Cuban Athletics as Expected

Budapest 2023: Cuban Athletics as Expected
Fecha de publicación: 
4 September 2023
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Before the beginning of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest 2023, we said that Cuba depended on its triple jumpers to get a medal, and so it was.

The real options of appearing again in the general medal table were in that test, and it was done in a triple game (just like the jump), thanks to Lázaro Martínez, silver medal winner, and Cristian Nápoles and Leyanis Pérez, winners of bronze medals.

The men's event was marked by the absence of the Cuban nationalized Portuguese Pedro Pablo Pichardo and the injury of the young Jamaican Jaydon Hibbert, who appeared as a great candidate for the podium after reaching 17.87 meters and becoming the U-20 world record holder in this same campaign.

That gave the other competitors a fighting chance and ultimately the other elite competitor, Hugues Fabrice Zango (17.64 m) from Burkinabe, imposed his favoritism, and behind him our athletes.

The indoor world champion in 2022 maintained his stability and finished second with 17.41 (just 10 centimeters below the record he had, the fourth best on the planet), and Napoles had a great competition, and with 17.40 he also left with a personal best.

It was barely the second day of competitions and Cuba had already fulfilled its purpose of reappearing in the medal table, but the women's competition was still missing, where Leyanis Pérez and Liadagmis Povea promised to give good competition.

Povea fought to be included in the awards podium and reached 14.87, the third best mark of her life and one inch better than what she had achieved in the season, so her sixth place does not leave a bad taste in the mouth.

Meanwhile, Pérez, fourth in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, started with an attempt of 14.96 meters, only two centimeters from the mark that had her second in Tokyo, but in her following attempts she could not pass them and finished third, behind the Ukrainian Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, who started the competition with exactly 15 meters. However, that 14.96 would have won for her six of the previous 15 World Championships, and it’s the second longest bronze in history, only behind the 15.08 of Russian Anna Biryukova in Gothenburg 1995.

It was also a strange competition because the super favorite, Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas, had a horrendous evening and it was not until the last jump that she won the gold medal, with a very poor 15.06 for her usual presentations.

As for the rest of the 21 members of the Caribbean delegation, the other great result was provided by Luis Enrique Zayas in the high jump, equaling his personal best of 2.31 meters and finishing fourth. The man from Santiago had not reached these heights for quite some time, so it’s a hopeful sign that he can still contribute in athletics.

Youngsters Alejandro Parada (long jump) and Silinda Morales (disc throwing) complied by advancing to the finals of their respective tests, and below were others more well-known like Rose Mary Almanza (800), Roxana Gómez (400) and Zurian Hechevarría (400 hurdles), who did not even make it to the semifinals.

The women's relays were also disappointing, although the 4x100 repeated the mark of the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador, but here the level was much higher and they were not enough to be included among the eight best on the planet.

The 4x400 had a poor performance in the brand new National Athletics Center, by the Danube River, especially for a very poorly run first leg and two inaccuracies in the passing of the baton, which is generally not decisive in this instance, but it was done really bad.

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