Cuba´s Athletic Predominance
By: Moisés Pérez Mok, Special Envoy / Photos: José Meriño
Cuba´s performance resulting in 123 gold medals, 66 silver and 65 bronze re-established its athletic predominance and was proclaimed Champion of the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games of Veracruz, 2014. Even with a smaller delegation, composed of about 540 athletes, and without participating in 108 of the 446 events, the Island came in second to Mexico in the medals table, who finished with 115 gold medals, 106 sliver 106 and 111 bronze. “This time the general level of competition was much tougher”, said Antonio Becali, Cuba´s President of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER).
In addition, the organization of the games (five locations, without a village for the athletes and with a program designed to promote Mexico´s leadership) could have psychologically affected the rest of the contenders.
Cuba did not participate in the events of: bowling, golf, rugby, squash, football, women’s boxing, skating, racquetball, equestrian, 17 track and field events, five archery events, 12 in weightlifting and 24 types of water sports, among others.
Its rowers shined with a Golden trail winning 10 gold medals, seven by the men and 3 by the women. In addition, the determination demonstrated in sailing resulted with a surprising silver medal in the snipe event, won by Raúl Díaz and Rafael García, leading the Mexicans (2-2-1) and Puerto Rico.
The Cubans´ performance was also particularly remarkable in boxing, with nine of 10 conquered titles; judo, who won 13 of the 18 possible gold medals; sports shooting (14-7-7); cycling track (7-3-1), and artistic gymnastics (leader of the overall medal standings with 4-6-4).
Of great pride was the performance of Cuba´s baseball team, undefeated Champion, and a bronze medal for the promising young men´s soccer team.