Cuban athletes will try to reproduce or improve on the results of their performance two years ago, when they travel in March to Portland, U.S., to participate in the IAAF World Indoor Championships.
Set for March 18-20 at the Oregon Convention Center, the tournament will bring together the world’s best track and field athletes, at a time when the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games will be on everyone’s mind.
The Cubans aim to put on a good performance and to duplicate their 2014 results in Sopot, Poland, where they finished fourth on the medal table with one gold, one silver and one bronze.
One notable absentee will be pole-vaulter Yarisley Silva, champion of the Polish tournament with a 4.70-meter high jump and world champion of the Beijing outdoor event in August 2015. The Cuban athlete featured as one of the favorites but her boyfriend, the Cuban high jumper Sergio Mestre, Central American and Caribbean champion in Veracruz-2014, had an accident while training and she interrupted her training in Europe to return to Havana and be with him.
Without Yarisley Silva, all predictions point to the also Cuban pole-vaulter Jennifer Suhr, who set a world record in late January by jumping 5.03 meters.
The other rival worth mentioning –if she finally decides to compete- is Brazilian Fabiana Murer, the runner-up of Beijing-2015.
Triple-jumpers Ernesto Revé and Pedro Pablo Pichardo silver and bronze medalists in Sopot, where Russia’s Lyukman Adams won the gold should also return to competition in Portland.
The members of men’s 4x400 relay could also gain a place for the competition in Portland and put on an excellent performance there, having been placed seventh in Beijing 2015.
Cuban athletes aim to maintain the prestige won by the country with its sixth position on the general medal table: 16 gold, 15 silver and 12 bronze, only preceded by the United States (89-59-58), Russia (69-60-50), Germany (24-23-28), Ethiopia (20-5-9) and the United Kingdom (16-26-19).
Meanwhile, athletes from Jamaica will once more be the center of attention, while the 100-meter world record holder Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce could defend the gold won in the 60-meter race in Sopot.
Another athlete returning to form is Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, the two times world record holder in the 3,000-meter race.
With four titles in the women’s indoor 3,000-meter race (2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010), Defar features as one of the favorites for the upcoming event in Portland.
Only time will tell what it is in store for the athletes who will soon compete in the United States, but one thing certain: the winners will be on their way to the Olympic Games in August in Rio de Janeiro.Share on FB Share on TT