The very recent Saturday August 17 the Spanish newspaper El País was referring to the conflicts faced by public television regarding the transmission of sporting events. Luckily, for the World Athletics Championships, which just ended in Moscow, appeared a sponsor and I could see much of the competition.
Cuba was back in the distant 1960 when I was born mainly a country of baseball and boxing, but also came echoes of figures as the Andarín Carvajal (1875-1949, his full name was Felix de la Caridad Carvajal and Soto) who participated in the Olympics marathon St. Louis in 1904, defying difficult circumstances. By the way, playwright Jesus Gregorio wrote a play about this athlete. He also took to the stage the story of Kid Chocolate, the legend of boxing.
Athletics boom-like many other sports, in the sixties I remember a popular phrase which referred to a sprinter at the time. When you were much in a hurry in something, the grace of ordinary Cubans advised you: “Do not run, you’re not Pablo Montes”.
Returning to Moscow and the -insufficiently supported by the public- World Athletics, I have the certainty that in Havana, Miami, Madrid and many other parts of the world millions of Cubans applaud from the anonymous privacy of our own sofas.
We can say it quickly: Yarelys Barrios obtained a medal for the fourth consecutive time in world champiosnhips. Besides natural talent, how much effort the robust girl of Pinar del Rio has needed to stay in the elite for so long!
Think of the difficulties – “limitations” in the old governmental language-, family matters, mood changes that any person-despite being a high performance athlete sea-faces all these years and vocation, as bronze medal hung around her neck this time.
Especially moving was the pole vault competition, with the beautiful and courageous Yarisley Silva. In the transmission of Spanish Television out of every three times they mentioned her in two they forgot her name and at least one of the country it represents. All the attention was to the great Isinbayeva, all cameras in the classic athlete that was saying goodbye to her audience. The Cuban kept the pulse to the end and, while ratifying their high quality sports she offered show, lived up as an opponent.
I conclude with a peculiar feeling between the emotions felt in this week. There was at the time when the young High Jump Ukrainian athlete Bohdan Bondarenko tried to break the record of our Javier Sotomayor. I must confess that for a moment I would have liked to attend the feat of a formidable leap, but in the end I preferred the bar to come down, that the Cuban record celebrate twenty years, which is still there as the mark of 2.45 a key, a password of pride for Cubans.
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