14ymedio, Madrid, 6 March 2023 — The first escape of Cuban athletes of this year took place last Saturday in the Mexican town of Oaxtepec, in the central state of Morelos. It was the karatecas, the karate experts, Claudia C. Sánchez Pupo, Onelis Hernández Polledo, Maikel A. Noriega Silverio and Lázaro J. Chapman Mora, who participated in the qualifying competitions for the Pan American Games in Santiago and the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador, both in 2023.
“They abandoned their commitment as a team and the Cuban sports system,” said the official sports media Jit, which reported the news, although it was in the last paragraph.
Earlier, they said that Cuba qualified one athlete for the Santiago 2023 games and 10 for those in San Salvador.
The highest score for the Island was achieved in the 120-pound category, by Baurelys de la Caridad Torres Alverdi, captain of the women’s team and bronze medalist of the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima.
This desertion is reminiscent of the one that took place in June last year, when four Cuban karatecas left the team while they were in Guatemala. On that occasion, Darían Díaz, Yaidel Hernández, Sunilda Ventosa and Gerardo Almenares left before completing their training sessions in preparation for the 2023 San Salvador Games.
Cuban karateca Elisabet Vasallo had warned a few months before that the discipline was in “decay.” The athlete, through her social networks, said: “For a long time, generations of high-performance karatecas, with talent and special conditions, have been destroyed.”
The bronze medalist at the Central American and Caribbean Games Barranquilla 2018 pointed at the “coaches” of the national team, saying that they were not “fair or neutral” in the choice of athletes.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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