Cuban Gymnasts Aspire to Greatness
By Alfredo Boada / Photos: Roberto Morejón and Prensa Latina
Cuba hopes to have a complete and competitive world class gymnastics team, following Manrique Larduet’s impressive international results and the presence of three Cubans in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. Cuban gymnasts had last participated in the Athens 2004 Games.
Carlos Gil, the national team coach, told CubaPlus that the country aspires tohaving a full contingent, rather than just two or three athletes, to compete at an international level in this attractive and complex sport’s international arena.
Even though a dreamed of Rio de Janeiro medal was not realized, Manrique Larduet took fifth and sixth places on the parallel and horizontal bars respectively. The results indicate what the country could achieve in the present cycle that will conclude with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The outstanding performance of Cuba’s best gymnast in the Rio de Janeiro Games highlights recent developments in this sport in Cuba. Larduet’s accomplishments in Rio were obtained despite an injury and complimented his excellent results in three international competitions in 2015.
In the Glasgow 2015 World Championship (Scotland), Larduet won the all-round silver medal and took bronze in the horizontal bars apparatus final.
“We hope to resume our position in the Central American and Pan-American area and to qualify a team for the next Olympic Games,” the coach said enthusiastically.
He added that this year, the team will compete in the World Cup in May, the Central American qualifying tournament in July and the World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Montreal, Canada, next October.
He revealed in relation to the latter that the country hopes to enter four gymnasts.
Cuba currently has a team panel of 12 gymnasts, with a further three in the reserve group.
The average age is 18, with the exception of the most experienced exponents: Manrique Larduet and Randy Lerú, both 20 years old.
“This is one of our finest moments regarding the quality of our gymnasts, and we have great reserves. Cubans will soon be proud of our international results.
We have the potential to win gold in the artistic gymnastics event during the next Central American Games”.
Gil concluded the interview by saying, “we will be in the running for a medal in the Pan-Americans and we hope to also participate in the Olympic Games in Japan, at least in the team event. If we set out to do it, we can”.