14ymedio, Havana, August 21, 2021 – Cuban judokas Ayumi Leyva and Nahomys Acosta left the island’s delegation during a stopover in Madrid, Spain. The athletes were going to participate in the qualifier for the Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, which took place on August 14 in the same city, but they never made it to the event.
As reported on Tuesday by the official site JIT, Leyva and Acosta were together with 12 other athletes who continued to Colombia but were withdrawn from the tournament after seven of them tested positive for covid-19.
The seven men and five women suspended from the contest “had to win their spots in the last of the seven events with scores for the ladder,” although JIT says that at least two “women are pending access by ranking.”
Due to pandemic-related flight restrictions, many athletes from the Island who are going to compete in tournaments in Latin America must first travel to Madrid and from there take a plane to a nation in Central America or South America.
At the end of June, the athlete Raudelis Guerra also abandoned the Island’s basketball delegation in Spain, on the way to the qualifying tournament for the World Cup, which took place in El Salvador.
Guerra escaped from the entourage at the same Madrid-Barajas Airport, where part of the national team made a stopover before continuing to the Central American country.
“I left the delegation for a very, very personal reason. Maybe many don’t know what it is and those people will judge without knowing. But I know, and my family will understand me,” the Guantanamamian told Play-Off Magazine shortly after.
About a month earlier there were other defections by Cuban athletes and assistants. Lázaro Blanco, a pitcher for the national team that participated in the Pre-Olympic Baseball Tournament of the Americas held in Florida, decided to stay in Miami on June 4 and not return to Saltillo, Mexico, where he had a contract with a local team.
“The important thing is that I feel good about the decision I’ve made, a new life that I’m going to start right now. I am very happy to be here,” said Blanco shortly after his decision was known.
Days earlier, César Prieto, one of the promising players, had left his teammates just hours after landing in Florida. A few days later, Jorge Sile Figueroa, a psychologist for the baseball team, also decided to leave the delegation and stay in the United States.
Translated by Tomás A.
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