14ymedio, Havana, 14 June 2022 — Four Cuban karatecas have left the team while they were in Guatemala. As confirmed by Swing Completo on Monday, they are Darían Díaz, Yaidel Hernández, Sunilda Ventosa and Gerardo Almenares, almost half of the group made up of nine athletes and the coach, Eliecer Llamos.
All of them arrived in Guatemala last Wednesday to take part in training in the cities of Escuintla and Mazatenango.
The publication points out that the athletes “decided to leave the group before the end of the event” that began this Sunday. It will culminate on the 20th and will serve as preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador in 2023.
The team’s trip was financed by the Executive Committee of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee with $11,186.12, so that Cuban athletes could cover the cost of air tickets, food, drinks and travel insurance.
Cuban karateca Elisabet Vasallo had warned in March of this year that this discipline was in “decline.” The athlete complained through her social networks: “For a long time generations of high-performance karatecas, athletes with talent and special conditions have been destroyed.”
The bronze medalist at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla pointed to the selection by “trainers” and said that they weren’t “fair or neutral” in the choice of athletes.
Although the specific day of the escape of the four athletes is not known, on his Facebook account, Eliecer Llamos posted a message on Thursday, June 9, in which he refers to those who “for one reason or another” decided to abandon them and said he hopes that “life smiles at them.” Of the nine who traveled to Guatemala, Vivian Prada, Baurelys Torres, Bárbara Lynn, Maikel Noriega and Lázaro Chapman remain.
Originally from Cienfuegos, Darían Díaz, one of the escapees, was selected as the best karateca on the island in 2020. In that year he also won gold in the Cardín Cup and won the Elite National Tournament.
The karate commissioner in Cienfuegos, Bernaldo Pérez Román, highlighted the work of Yaidel Hernández, which led him to be one of the four prominent representatives of the province.
Cuban sport is experiencing an alarming drain of athletes. The escape of players has spread to other disciplines. In May, the abandonment by five members of the wrestling team was confirmed: the two-time world champion Ismael Borrero, Leonardo Herrera, Amanda Hernández, Cristian Solenzal and Yolanda Cordero, during their stay in Mexico for the Pan American Wrestling Championship.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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