Junior Pan American Games ended on a positive note

Junior Pan American Games ended on a positive note
Fecha de publicación: 
7 December 2021
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A very good impression left the first-ever U23 Junior Pan American Games held in Colombia.

The beautiful area of ​​Valle del Cauca was adorned at its best to welcome the young people of the continent in what became a true celebration of friendship and color, and a very important link in the training of these 3,500-plus athletes from more than 40 countries.

This has surely been the best sports experience for each of them so far as they have been able to fraternize in the same spot with peers from different latitudes and hence prove themselves to their generation of athletes, championing the colors of their nations.

In short, Brazil managed to come back in the last couple of days to lead the final medal standing with 59 gold medals —11 more than host nation Colombia.

As of Cuba, it was another sign that we need to expand the number of high-performance sports disciplines. If we want to regain the place that has traditionally been ours on the continent, it is imperative to allocate human and material resources to the development of new sports disciplines. We are still relying on the same ones. It cannot happen again that we participate in this sort of event without competing in less than half of finals played (41 percent).

The situation of team sports is still a concern. Despite occasional sparks, our teams were not up to the task at clutch time. None of them ended in the top-3.

Taekwondo performance was poor. Our four athletes finished early and thus, ended far from the top-3. Cycling and archery did not meet expectations either.

As tradition proves in this kind of multiple events, athletics led the way with nine gold medals, six silver medals, and three bronze medals. Wrestling, boxing, judo, diving, rowing, and table tennis met their expectation.

These were our main options from the individual viewpoint. We do not have quality enough in the rest of sports as of now. 

Individually, diver Anisley García stood out. She earned two gold medals. But generally speaking, we saw great physical shape and training skills in our athletes.

Moreover, it is important to highlight that Cuba guaranteed 30 direct spots to the Pan American Games to be held Santiago de Chile in 2023. The nine and four spots earned by wrestling and boxing respectively, have no names. Hence, Cuba will determine who will represent the nation in those divisions.

Many have learned a lot of things; for instance, Greco-Roman wrestler Liober Betancourt, who celebrated early and lost his combat in the finals of the 97 kg.

This and other teaching happened and it is better now than later in a more prestigious tournament. The enrollment of talents in foreign tournaments is a path that shall continue to expand in both tea and individual sports. To achieve it, we also need “creativity” and less “obstacles.”

We have the raw talent. It meets the eye. We need to polish it right to turn it into diamond, nonetheless.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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