Athletes of the Year a controversial issue for the time being
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- Science and Technology
- Politics and Government
- 12 / 22 / 2009
The truth is that Cuban sport gives too many prizes; they are so many that many times you forget which the best was in a given category.
Years ago, many indeed, the best athlete of the country was the only one awarded and the other 10 with outstanding performance and the best performance as team sports and individuals were overlooked.
Since sports in Cuba are undergoing a slump, perhaps this is the time to return to the patterns of before and we’d save ourselves so many headaches when choosing.
Anyways, it is always a thorny and exciting issue, because the goal is to measure in the same scale sportsmen who competed in sports many times so dissimilar that making any comparison might seem impossible.
Before speculating on who the chosen ones should be in each category, I’d rather delved into the most outstanding figures and the best teams, in a campaign meagre of medals and outstanding performances.
One of last year’s finest, the hurdle sprinter Dayron Robles, was injured in the World Championship of Berlin and he won't have the chance to defend his register, but wrestler Mijain Lopez will he was undefeated during the entire year and among the gold medals he won those of the World Championship of Denmark and the World Cup in France.
Lopez, the best super heavyweight worldwide, had only one not favourable point in the whole year, besides, the medal in the Pan-American of Venezuela and the prestigious Tournament Granma.
Another sportsman with world medal was boxer Rosniel Iglesias who climbed to the top of the podium in the 64 kg in the event of Milan, Italy.
Iglesias has had the honour of being the only world champion of Cuban boxing, but also the Pan-American prize, and of the tournaments Giraldo Cordova Cardin, the Strandja Cup, the Bocskai Memorial, and the Carabobo Battle.
Cyclist Yumari Gonzalez also had an impressive year, adorned with the world medal of scratch and the silver medal in the race by points.
Meanwhile, the Grand Master Leinier Dominguez was ratified among the first 25 in the world ranking and he kept his ELO coefficient over the 2 700 points.
Dominguez was among the first in several competitions and only in the World Cup he lost before what was expected, besides being defeated in his attempt of defending the title in the World Championship of Fritz.
The triple jumper Yargelis Savigne is a must-mentioning athlete, after a season in which she dominated her specialty in the world to the extent of achieving 9 out of the 10 best registers of the year.
Savigne won her second gold in world championships after winning in Berlin with 14.95, before her fellow sportswoman Mabel Gay who stretched until the 14.61.
Savigne’s medal was the only gold medal of Cuba in that event, a tournament where the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt shone again.
Other two of impressive results were the volleyball players Wilfredo Leon and Roberlandi Simon, keystone of the Cuban team in the World League and the World Cup.
Thanks to Leon and Simon, Cuba entered the final of the League and finished second of Brazil in the World Cup.
Both monopolized more than an individual leadership, but their performance within the team was the most impressive aspect.
If there were not a home run hitter named Alfredo Despaigne, one of them would win the distinction to the best athlete of the year of collective sports, but the hitter from Granma province had a marvellous year at bat.
In his first competition, the National Series, he broke the homer and 2-base hits record and then, in the World Cup, he smashed the old supremacy of homers of Orestes Kindelan.
Despaigne didn't raise any medal and he went neither good nor bad in the II Classic, but his two supremacies in homers guarantee a position among the chosen ones.
By teams, the condition of finalist in the Volleyball World League and the silver medal in the Cup are far more shocking than the seventh position of baseball in the Classic and the second in the World Cup of Europe.