Cuban Athlete Osvaldo Lara Dies in Misery After a Successful Career

Former athletes Osvaldo Salas, Marcia Garbey and Sigfredo Bandera died during the first two days of 2024. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 4 January 2024 — Cuban sports have said goodbye at this beginning of the year, in just three days, to three former figures in its history: former sprinter Osvaldo Lara, at 69 years old; former jumper Marcia Garbey, at 74; and coach Sigfredo Bandera, at 75.

On January 1st, sprinter Osvaldo Lara died, according to PlayOff Magazine. Lara was widely recognized for his sprinting and represented the Island at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980.

Some of his best records were the silver medal in the 4×100 relay, with 38.36 seconds, in the Continental Cup held in Dusseldorf, Germany (1977); the 10.11 seconds in Medellín (Central American and Caribbean Games, 1978) in the 100 meter dash, and the 20.94 seconds in the 200 meter dash in Havana (Central American and Caribbean Games, 1982).

Lara participated in several international events between 1977 and 1986, including the Central American and Caribbean Championships, in Xalapa, Mexico (1977), and in Nassau, Bahamas (1985); and the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela (1983).

Lara told the official newspaper, for example, that he only charged 700 pesos for one of the medals won in his years as a professional athlete

Despite his successful career, an interview published by Workers in 2022 showed the terrible conditions in which he was spending his old age. Lara told the official newspaper, for example, that he only charged 700 pesos for one of the medals won during his years as a professional athlete. However, he did not receive retirement pay because he requested sick leave when he developed high blood pressure.

The former sprinter also suffered from diabetes and the after-effects of a stroke. His wife reported that the sports authorities did not visit him and Workers published the photo of the former athlete with his eyes full of tears and holding a worn medal.

Also on January 1, in Santiago de Cuba, Marcia Garbey died, recognized for being the first Cuban jumper to reach the final of the Olympic Games, in Munich 1972.

Marcia Garbey’s feat in Munich was a jump of 6.52 meters that placed her in fourth position, very close to the podium. Other notable results include the bronze medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the gold medal in the 4×100 relay at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg (Canada), in 1967.

In this black week for Cuban sports, the official media Jit also lamented the death of coach Sigfredo Bandera, who guided several Cuban athletes to the Olympic and world podiums.

Coach Bandera led Yoelbi Quesada to third place on the podium at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, as well as the triple jumpers Alexis Copello and Yoel García, and Enrique Cepeda, Paralympic champion of Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000.


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