A Cuban Olympic Canoe Champion and a Weightlifter Seek Tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympics With IOC Refugees

Fernando Dayán Jorge Enríquez left the Cuban national team during a camp in Mexico in March 2022 /Instagram/Fernando Dayán

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, April 11,   2024 — Cuban athletes Fernando Dayán Jorge Enríquez, a gold medalist in canoeing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and Ramiro Mora, a champion in weightlifting (2022 and 2023) in the United Kingdom, will be able to compete for a place in Paris 2024 as part of the refugee team. Both, fleeing the Island, have just received a scholarship from the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF), according to the Olympics portal.

The selected team will be announced by IOC President Thomas Bach on May 2. To select who will be on the team, “the sporting performance of each athlete and a balanced representation in terms of sport, gender and regions” will be taken into account, the same media stated.

Along with Jorge Enríquez, who lives in the United States, and Mora, who lives in the United Kingdom, scholarships were also awarded to the Iranians Matin Balsini (United Kingdom) and Aryan Saed Panah (Spain) and to the Sudanese Musa Suliman (Switzerland). The IOC recognizes them as having “overcome challenges” before arriving in the country that gave them refuge. “They are dedicated athletes whose lives were changed through sport.”

On March 6, Jorge Enríquez left the Cuban delegation that traveled to Mexico for a camp. His escape occurred seven months after having won the gold medal alongside Serguey Torres in the C2 1,000 meter event. From that moment on he became a pariah in the eyes of the Cuban sports authorities who accused him of turning his back on a commitment to new results for his sport and his people.

Ramiro Mora left the Island in 2019 and arrived in Blackpool (United Kingdom), where he had to work in a circus to support himself

In January of that same year, the authorities had awarded him with a high-end vehicle after “an agreement by the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers” in which it was decided to assign a car to “sports personalities with a recognized career.”

However, this athlete decided to disassociate himself from Cuban sport and after a 10-day journey through Mexico, his arrival in the United States was confirmed. Fernando Dayán now resides in Florida and has the support of his coach Alain. In the United States he has achievements in the national speed boating championship, held in Sarasota, Florida.

For Ramiro Mora, the Olympic Foundation for Refugees stands out, his tenacity and determination to remain in a sport where in the beginning he did not have the appropriate weight for the practice of weightlifting. He stayed in this sport despite losing his parents at age 14. His drive led him to be part of the national team.

Mora left the Island in 2019 and arrived in Blackpool (United Kingdom). The need to earn income to support himself led him to work in a circus. From there he moved on to Bristol, where he set and achieved the British record in the 89 and 96 kilogram categories, winning the national championship in 2022 and 2023.

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