Taken from Prensa Latina.
Tokyo, July 19.- An examination of resilience faces the sport of Cuba today, which landed in Tokyo with its smallest Olympic delegation in the last 57 years and the frenzy through the skies in search of writing glorious new pages.
After his arrival in Japan, the vice president of the Cuban Institute of Sports, Ariel Sainz, confirmed that Cuba maintains the firm intention of being among the top 20 places in the general medal table.
To do this, he warned, it is necessary to be highly effective and achieve four to six gold medals: We consider it to be an affordable forecast and not at all pretentious, said the manager after an aerial journey of almost 30 hours.
The objective is far from being a chimera because there is quality and desires in the 69 Cuban representatives, among them an outstanding one named Mijaín López, wrestling champion in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.
This exponent of the Greek style deserves a special mention, a man hardened in a thousand battles and who will seek, at 38 years of age, to become the first gladiator to obtain four Olympic titles.
López, from the 130-kilogram division, leads a delegation with renowned figures such as fellow fighter Ismael Borrero, discóbola Yaimé Pérez, judoka Idalys Ortiz and boxers Andy Cruz and Julio César la Cruz.
Nor can we forget the long jumper Juan Miguel Echevarría, the taekwondo player Rafael Alba and the shooters Leuris Pupo and Jorge Félix Álvarez, who also make people dream of those performances that drive the seats to crowd and applaud the protagonists without pause.
Of course, the challenge seems huge -something like climbing Mount Fuji- because the COVID-19 pandemic caused havoc and the preparation was not as fluid as at other times.
Tournament cancellations, travel difficulties and the well-known fact of not having the necessary economic power to adapt to the sport of the 21st century play against many of the Cuban competitors, who, nevertheless, dream big, as required by the moment.
We got around difficulties along the way and this meant greater complexity. The country's leadership gave us great support and I believe that each of our athletes was able to prepare well, said Ariel Sainz.
Likewise, nothing of the aforementioned intimidates a nation that has maintained an uninterrupted presence in the Olympic medal table since the 1964 Tokyo event. Hence, the motto is: Let's do it for Cuba!
The phrase becomes a clear exhortation to fulfill the commitment to give even the smallest effort to succeed and respond to the trust of a people who breathe sports and idealize memorable moments.
Five years ago in Rio de Janeiro 2016, Cuba concluded in the eighteenth seat in the Olympic medal table with a loot of 11 awards, divided into five gold, two silver and four bronze.
Regarding historical results, thanks to 77 titles, 66 second places and 77 third places, Cuba ranks 16th out of 206 National Olympic Committees, 14th, if the former Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic are excluded.
The above results make the island the second most awarded country in the entire American continent, behind the United States, and the first among all Spanish-speaking nations.
Tokyo will, then, be a new start for the Caribbean island in order to regain lost ground and do justice to the decades of feats of athletes who went from mere mortals to legends within a territory eager to see their children soar on Olympus of the muscle gods. (Photo: PL)