Ten years have passed since kayaker Yusmari Mengana got in a boat without the remotest thought that this might become a defining moment of destiny. Just ten years old and encouraged by trainers, who had identified her potential, she commenced a journey that has not yet been concluded.

This journey which began on a beach on the Isle of Youth has transported her to other ‘harbors’ around the globe where her name has made the headlines, such as those of Montemor-o-Velho, Portugal for the World-Cup, Veracruz for the Central-American games and Toronto for the Pan-American Games.

Ten years have passed since kayaker Yusmari Mengana got in a boat without the remotest thought that this might become a defining moment of destiny. Just ten years old and encouraged by trainers, who had identified her potential, she commenced a journey that has not yet been concluded.Her silver at the Portuguese event made her into the first Cuban to stand upon a world podium in the discipline. Two titles at Tuxpan and three Pan-American crowns at Weeland did not go to the 21 year old’s head; her eyes are firmly fixed on broader horizons.

As she told this reporter in Toronto, she aspires only to “increase the rhythm and reach the goals that my talent and commitment allow me to reach.” 

Achieving fifth place in the 200m trial at the Milan World event means that Mengana has achieved something no other Cuban woman to date has achieved; a ticket to the Rio de Janeiro-2016 Olympic Games.

Since reaching her goal last August, she has been clear that she will not settle for being just another competitor, she intends to make the most impressive debut possible.

A dreamer who battles hard, she said that “with character, commitment, effort, talent of course and a little bit of luck, I can go far in this; a sport I find fascinating”.

Nobody could doubt her ability to surprise. Yusmari Mengana has meritoriously carved out her niche in the Kayak kingdom, making Rio a promising prospect indeed.

ROWING

Mengana’s spouse and world multi-medalist Angel Fournier, is Cuba’s great hope to take their first Olympic rowing medal in Rio-2016.

Without shining at the World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France, Fournier did secure his qualification for the forthcoming Games.

The pair Adrian Oquendo - Eduardo Rubio showed better results, having worked together for less than one month, yet finishing third in their short oar doubles race.

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