The following phrase is very well used in relation to the triumph of the Cuban boxers and Greek wrestlers in the I Junior Pan American Games: not because it’s expected, it gives us joy. We can’t be surprised. These sports have been at the forefront of our sport for a long time. To state this you have to see beyond the conquests in international tournaments. Both specialties are powerful in massiveness and the relay and training is based on science and technique applied properly.
Not everything is perfect. There are things missing, you have to polish, gain discipline on and off the matches. But if everything went like this ... And these sports suffer the same North American blockade, the non-existence of the socialist field, their own cracks that not only exist in sports, the so-called muscle drain and the attack of the pandemic. They have come through despite lacerations. Coaches, personnel, doctors, psychologists, workers have known how to weather the storm from which nothing escapes.
Ahh, the past backs up everything. For what the founders and followers did. The story turned into facts. The previous foundations have been inherited and enriched: feet on the ground to adapt it dialectically, while readying the wings to fly. It’s not easy to beat us in such combat sports. Boxing has been named: the flagship of Cuban sport. Wrestling is very close behind, not infrequently against the tide.
When it comes to happiness, the names of those who have made it possible can’t be ignored. First of all, those who are no longer among us, although they are besides us because they are just not there because age or that they have passed away. They stay! One seems to see them in each fighter’s corner or also giving advice to those who lead, be they instructors or officials. Yes, they are there and they can’t disappear or the losses would be huge! Don’t accuse me of poverty in language but the word I repeat in this case is the one that cannot be substituted. It’s the right one.
Although time hurts and it’s implacable like Pablo Milanés has sung, Alcides Sagarra, the father of the Cuban School of Boxing, and his closest collaborator in that creation, Sarvelio Fuentes, we feel them in each of the triumphs and we hope that are well kept in their homes. I wish they could assist us directly. They didn’t fall from the heaven: members of the family of boxing, when crime ruled over the ring; fighters themselves, even Fuentes won a Golden Gloves Tournament in the United States.
They were both part of the people, like their Revolution, didn’t stay on the sidelines of professional boxing for the sake of it: they studied, founded, worked hard for the new boxing, the new sport. I also include Waldo Santiago in the development attained, a hard-working national commissioner and international leader of the sector. The group of coaches that has followed in his footsteps cannot be omitted, and rather than keeping successes, they enriched them.
Boxers today keep that glory on and that basic strategy of hitting and not allowing to be hit like Kid Chocolate, in that other strategy of not letting your opponent to hit you and you hitting like professional boxing School dictates - it looks the same, but it’s not - they strengthened it, changing what had to be changed with an addition of necessary offense if relevant. Our fighters not just win: they are the most elegant, the ones who solidify the art of boxing.
I don't dare say that in classical wrestling we have a school. It seems so much ... The important thing is that the Greek wrestlers in Cuba look different in the struggle on the mats. They can modify the program, the system by the Federation: here we assimilate them and whatever they change cannot outshine us. It’s not by chance that we have the best of all times in our ranks: Mijaín López. But, without denying his extraordinary conditions, if there were not hundreds of many kids - many inspired by him – working hard at the base, there wouldn’t be a Mijaín or the new glorious wrestlers.
I repeat what I wrote when our Greek wrestlers won in Tokyo 2020: "... Pedro Val, José, Pini, Yánez, and Gustavo Rollé shook my mind. They are the wrestling in Cuba, without neglecting the magnificent current work of the excellent coach Trujillo, of Filiberto Ascuy, an Olympic ace twice turned into an instructor, and of Mendieta, the main guide in freestyle. But without those beginners, the successful work of today's teachers who followed the trail of the established guideline would not exist". And all three of them are deceased. For reasons of space I will present only a few lines about this excellent trio; I promise to delve into the lives of these men soon.
For now, let it be known that Pedro Val passed away a few days before Barranquilla 2018. Passionate about chokes and grips, at first he wanted to be an ace. Luckily he preferred to guide young wrestlers after taking a coach course: we see a lot of him in Mijaín! Pini, Central Caribbean and Pan American medalist and Olympic contender. Founder of Inder. He managed to be a leading scientist in the field. Gustavo Rollé is the Father of Wrestling in Cuba. He entered the Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018. A year later he died. Upon being awarded he had declared: "This distinction drives me to work much more for the sport until the end of my life."
Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff