Even though Cuba’s principal athletes, Yarisley Silva and Pedro Pablo Pichardo did not participate, a lot more had been expected of those who represented the Island at the XVI World Indoor Track Championships in Portland, United States, where the worst results in recent years were recorded.

Silva, Sopot-2014 World indoor pole vault champion and Beijing-2015 World outdoor pole vault champion, who was the favorite to retain her gold, withdrew from the event following an accident involving her partner, triple jumper Sergio Mestre.

When hearing about Mestre’s accident, the London-2012 Olympics silver medalist interrupted her tour and on her behalf, her coach announced that she would not compete further during the winter season.

Silva explained on her personal page on the social media website Facebook that “We have decided to focus all our efforts on the Olympic Games, which are the primary objective of the season.”

Pichardo did not compete in Portland because of injury.

The double world triple jump silver medalist (Moscow-2013 and Beijing-2015) was forced to take a four-week rest after suffering a microfracture to his right ankle.

With these two significant absences, Cuba was represented at the North American event by sprint hurdlers, Yordan O´Farrill and Jhoanis Portilla and the 800m specialist, Rose Mary Almanza.

O´Farrill, world youth champion in Barcelona-2012, arrived at the tournament with a 60m hurdles personal best time of 7.61 seconds, recorded at the Mondeville Meeting in France on February 6.

In Portland, O’Farrill posted a time of 7.69 in the qualifiers and advanced to the semi-finals in which he was eliminated having crossed the line fifth in a time of 7.67 seconds. Neither Portilla (7.77), nor Almanza (2:08.07) made it past the qualifiers.

These are Cuba’s worst recorded results at a world indoor championships in recent years, having finished in sixth place in Qatar-2010 with one gold, three silver and a bronze, as well as coming 25th with only one bronze in Istanbul-2012 and coming seventh in Sopot-2014 with one gold, one silver and one bronze, thanks to the efforts of Silva, Ernesto Revé and Pichardo.

The best performances shown by Latin America and the Caribbean were those of Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas, who took the title with a triple jump of 14.41m and Jamaican Omar McLeod, who won gold in the 60m hurdles.

The U.S., with 13 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze, convincingly dominated the medals table, followed by Ethiopia (2-2-1), France (1-1-2) and Jamaica (1-1-1) amongst the 13 nations that won at least one medal.

Stars of the U.S. delegation were heptathalon-ist Ashton Eaton, winning her third consecutive indoor gold, pole vaulter Jennifer Suhr, Matt Centrowitz in the 1,500m and Michele Carter in the shot put.

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