Luis Orta, an Olympic and World Champion, source of pride for Cuba

Luis Orta, an Olympic and World Champion, source of pride for Cuba
Fecha de publicación: 
19 December 2023
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Greco-Roman wrestler Luis Orta (67kg), Olympic and world champion in wrestling, is one of those athletes who has earned the admiration of the people and has become a source of pride for Cuba.

In a dreamed 2023, he won several titles, including the World Championship in Belgrade, Serbia, last September. The reigning Olympic champion (won the gold medal in Tokyo 2020) added that world crown to his record. Paired with other outstanding results, he was chosen the best Cuban male athlete this year.

It has not been easy for him. That is why this excellent wrestler is always grateful to each of his coaches from the base, those who contributed to his training until he became what he is today, one of the references of that combat sport.

In dialogue with the Cuban News Agency, he spoke about what belonging to the Cuban sports movement means to him, a few days before celebrating the 65th anniversary of the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959.

He also referred to his achievements this year and the upcoming challenges in his successful sports career.

The Revolution has given Cuban athletes the possibility to train from the base with equal opportunities under the principle of sport as a right of all people. What does it mean for you?

I think it is something very important that sport in Cuba can be practiced by anyone from childhood regardless of their social and economic level. So I am grateful because I have been able to get to what I am today.

I have a lot to thank Commander in Chief Fidel Castro (1926-2016), who was the main promoter of sports being a right of the people and from there, many champions emerged at different levels, he said.

In wrestling, how do you see the opportunity that those who like that discipline can practice it from their childhood, as in the case of legend Mijaín López?

Without a doubt, it is very good that everyone has the same rights regardless of their race or economic possibilities.

For example, great athletes have emerged from very intricate places and humble neighborhoods who have later won medals in high-quality international events, which is another achievement of the Revolution despite the fact that we are a small country with few resources.

I believe that without the revolutionary triumph 65 years ago, it would have been very difficult for all Cuban athletes to have the possibility of achieving the greatest, such as winning a world or Olympic title, said the laureate wrestler from La Güinera neighborhood, in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality, province of Havana.

Moving on to what happened in your sporting career, 2023 has been very successful for you, and you were even nominated by the World Wrestling Union among the candidates for the best Greco-Roman wrestler of the year award. How do you value those results?

Yes, the truth is it has been a very good year because we met the objectives that we set for ourselves together with my coaching staff, such as achieving the gold medal in the World Championship and winning the ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

To this great result -he said- we must add that I won the gold medal in the Central Caribbean event held in San Salvador, and in the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, which have undoubtedly been great joys personally. “I am very happy because the sacrifice was worth it. So the goal now is to pursue the upcoming challenges,” added the 29-year-old wrestler.

Those performances allowed you to be selected the best male athlete of 2023 in Cuba, did you expect it?

It was not my goal. I just trained as always with the desire to win each competition or at least give my all on the mat, but it is very important for my career that they have chosen me as the best male athlete of the year in Cuba because I had never been awarded with that award before. Hence, it commits me to working harder for 2024.

Would that recognition be a stimulus and motivation for what is coming next year?

Sure. The Olympic games are around the corner. It is always a huge challenge. Therefore, I must focus on a good training to stay on the path to success.

In this 67-kg division, do you feel the same or better than the previous one (60-kg) in which you prevailed at Tokyo 2020?

They are different divisions and in all of them you have to fight very hard to beat rivals who are increasingly stronger, but thanks to the ability and wisdom of my coaches and my personal effort I have been able to adapt well to the current weight and earn important victories.

Without talking about the color of a medal, would the goal in Paris 2024 be to go step by step in search of the top-3?

Of course, I do not like underestimating any opponent and one competition has nothing to do with the other. Tokyo 2020 and the recent World Championship are already behind me, so when the time comes I must go fight by fight in search of that goal. On the mattress, we will see who’s the best.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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