The Escape of Five Judokas in France Throws the Cuban Sport to the Canvas

Cuban judoka Mellisa Hurtado, one of the five athletes who left the national team in France. (Jit)

14ymedio bigger 14ymedio, Havana, 26 May 2023 — The judokas Vanesa Godinez (106 lbs.), Mellisa Hurtado (115 lbs.), Santa Virgen Romero (172), Blanca Elena Torres (115 lbs.) and Lutmary García (139 lbs) left the Cuban team during their stay in France. “There are 20 athletes,” between January and March of this year, who have taken advantage of some international exit to escape and look for “a better life,” journalist Francys Romero said on his social networks.

The first to separate from the team were Vanesa Godinez, who last year won a silver medal at the European Judo Open in Australia and Mellisa Hurtado, who in the 115 lb. category won the gold medal after beating the Swiss Fabienne Kocher in the same event.

Santa Virgen Romero, who came from important achievements in her beginnings in this discipline and won the National Championship in Cárdenas (Cuba) in 2019, abandoned the team in the first quarter of this year.

Lutmary García, who just last January won a bronze medal in the L’Aisne tournament, held in France, fled on March 11 along with Blanca Elena Torres. This group of judokas is added to the more than 81 Cuban athletes who have deserted their teams between 2022 and 2023.

The escape of athletes continues to hit Cuban sports, which has not commented on the abandonments of the members of the Cuban field hockey team Yadira Miclín Galbán, Marianela López and Daylin Suárez Pérez. The young women reported that they were “starving and cooking with firewood,” in addition to emphasizing that they were paid a pittance, and that is why they decided to stay in Spain.

Nor have they offered any comment about the escape of the hockey players Lázaro Tolón, Yuri Brown and Yordanqui Méndez, who took advantage of their stay in Chile to separate from the national team.

The chain of escapes is occurring while the Island faces a serious economic crisis, manifested by the lack of fuel, continuous blackouts and food shortages. Before those six hockey players, rowers Maykol Julio Álvarez, Yoelvis Javier Hernández and Osvaldo Pérez escaped the last week of April.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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