Cuban Jordan Diaz Waits for Permission to Compete for Spain in Paris 2024

In June 2022, Jordan Díaz becomes Spanish champion in Nerja with a jump of 17.87 meters (58.6 feet) / Instagram/@jordan_diaz_tj

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 12 April 2024 — “Here, I am valued as an athlete; in Cuba I had no opportunities.” This is what the triple jumper Jordan Díaz Fortún (“Air Jordan”) said about his departure from the Island in 2021, in an interview published this Friday by El Español. The athlete hopes, next June, to have the permission of the governing body of athletics, World Athletics, to compete for Spain at the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.

Díaz regretted that sports on the Island is managed “around politics,” and they do not understand that he left in order to improve. “If I see that I’m not doing well in one place, I try to improve my future. I can’t be in prison, as they say. No, not that,” he stressed to El Español.

In 2022, the athlete told El País that the “Cuban sports system is so complicated that they almost force valuable athletes to leave in a stampede.” In his case, he saw that the results he obtained were not recognized. “There comes a time when an athlete needs a stimulus, which was something that a person like me, with the level I have, did not receive.”

“There comes a time when an athlete needs a stimulus, which was something that a person like me, with the level I have, did not receive”

The athlete’s statements coincided that year with Cuba’s worst performance in the World Athletics Championships. “For the first time in the 18 versions of these tournaments, the Largest of the Antilles leaves without medals,” said Cubadebate.

With his departure, which took place in the Spanish city of Castellón three years ago, Díaz not only separated from his family, which he has not been able to see since, but also resigned from his participation in Tokyo 2020, where, due to his personal record of 17.49 meters (57.4 feet) achieved in the National Youth Athletics Championship, he was predicted to have a good performance.

In any case, according to the report, his stay in Spain has not been easy. An injury took him out of the competition last year, but he has returned with his sights set on Paris 2024. At his first Olympics he arrives as the holder of a record, a jump of 17.87 meters (58.6 feet), and chances of winning a medal.

The Cuban says that the gold medal will be for the triplist who exceeds 18 meters [59.1 feet). “I think about reaching everything including the world record (18.29 (60 feet) by Jonathan Edwards in 1995),” he told the sports newspaper As. “2024 is going to be the best year in history in the triple. In fact, I think that in Paris 2024 there will be at least three above 18 meters.”

Behind Díaz in Spain are the bronze medalist in Tokyo 2020, Ana Peleteiro, her manager Alberto Suárez and Iván Lázaro Pedroso Soler, “Iván the Terrible or the “Mountain Jumper.” “Pedroso has changed everything for me: mentality, career, way of jumping, technique. Absolutely everything,” he told the same sports newspaper at the beginning of April.

For Jordan Díaz Fortún’s performances, two years ago he was recognized with the King Juan Carlos Award for outstanding athlete of 2022 / Instagram/@jordan_diaz_tj

Pedroso, Olympic champion and nine-times world title holder, has lived in Guadalajara (Spain) for more than a decade, where he has created what is already known as the Pedroso team. Jordan Díaz is part of this group, which includes the Olympic gold medalist in triple jump Yulimar Rojas, the Spanish Ana Peleteiro, the Portuguese and Olympic champion in Beijing 2008 Nelson Évora, the Brazilian Nubia Soares and the Cuban Alexis Copello, naturalized by Azerbaijan.

His improvement in the sport is notorious. Economically, Díaz confessed to the newspaper Mundo Deportivo last January that “living from athletics is fucked up,” clarifying that this sport “is not like soccer where it’s easy to live quite well for the rest of your life.” The athlete, who has Red Bull as a sponsor, said that in his discipline you have to “be on top” to get “many contracts and sponsors.” So “you have to make the most of the moments in the elite and know how to save above all.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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