The Dolphin of Football
By Alfredo Boada / Photos: Roberto Morejón and Prensa Latina
He started as a water polo player and today holds a very unique record: mastery of the ball in the water. Jhoen Lefont Rodríguez (Matanzas, 1987), contrary to other athletes, had better control of the ball with his head than with his feet, ever since he began training at the age of 13.
During the national water polo pre-selection, he continued practicing this specialty, initially as a hobby, until one day through the coach Jorge del Valle, he met Douglas Hernández Sánchez (a pioneer of ball control in Cuba), who was impressed to see how Lefont could control a ball in the water, by maintaining his balance vertically without standing on the pool floor.
Intense months of preparation, combining training in water polo with the mastery of the ball, and studying in University, marked the life of this athlete, who not only dreamed of getting an Olympic or World medal one day in his sport, but also setting a Guinness World Record.
He managed to get not one but three, certified by the Guinness World Records organization: 1 203 touches (April 2012) at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, 1 503 touches (August 2013) at the same location and 1 513 touches (February 2016) at the Melia Cohiba Hotel, also in Havana. Lefont made his debut on 27 February 2010, in the swimming pool of the Hotel Tryp Habana Libre, where he established his first record, with 534 touches of the ball, in about four minutes.
His most recent was obtained in November 2016 at the Meliá Cohiba Hotel, with 183 touches in one minute. The young athlete has also obtained the recognition of Cuba’s Best Athlete in the category of special activities (ball control in water) in 2012, 2013 and 2014.