From Inside Cuba

Distributed by The Cuba Free Press Project.

Havana, September 11, 1997, Cuba Press

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 1-8, 1997. Mini-sports news from Cuba Press. By Ivan Garcia, Cuba Press.

Cuba earned ten boxing titles in the Pan-American Boxing Championships held in Medellin, Colombia. It was a near perfect showing because, in addition to this, the 57 kilos boxer, Rudi Nelson Hardy earned three silver medals. Only the lightweight (36 kilos), Aldo Moreno, left without a medal. Cuba presented a team of 12 fighters, led by the multi-world and olympic champion, Felix Savon. There was special recognition bestowed on the Atlanta '96 champion, the flyweight (48 kilos), Maikro Romero, who was nominated as the best boxing technician of the competition.

Cuban sports stars, Javier Sotomayor, in the long-jump, and Ivan Pedroso, in long distance, won in a track meet which took place in Tokyo, Japan. "The prince of the heights" won with a 2.31 meter jump, enough to surpass his closest competitor, South Korean Lee Jiu Taek. For his part, "Ivan the Terrible", continued his winning streak by surpassing Jamaican James Beckford, stretching for 8.33.

On September 10th, the 5th superior league for men's basketball, launched its season. Four teams are taking part in the tournament, which will play 27 games. The basketball league has turned into a great spectator sport, surpassing even baseball, which seems to have lost some fans. Over two months, thousands of fans filled the courts to cheer for Lazaro Borell, Angel Oscar Caballero, and the spectacular Roberto Carlos Herrera.

Reinaldo Gonzalez, the president of the Cuban Sports Institute for Physical Education and Recreation (INDER), announced the possibility that the Cuban baseball team will not participate in the pre-world tourney, to take place in Mexico, on October 3-13. Gonzalez says that the decision will depend on the IVA, an organization which has stated that our team should not participate since our ranking as a World's Champion, assures us a birth in the meet. But there are rumors that this measure might be due to the crisis faced by our national selection, which has lost seven of the last nine meets, and at the possibility of having a poor showing in Mexico, where top ranking professionals and Triple A quality players are expected to perform, the Cuban authorities seem to be backing out of participating.

In the island, the fanaticism over baseball is such, that losses are not accepted, and when they occur, the heads of the leaders of the national past-time, roll.

On another issue. With the goal of earning a medal (regardless of which), a Cuban squad in the art of Greco-Roman wrestling, travelled to Polonia to participate in the World Championship of this specialty, to take place on September 10-13. Olympic champion, Filiberto Asqui, (74 kilos), and Juan Luis Maren (63 kilos), are the two best shots for a medal, even as well-known Hector Miliar (125 kilos), and experienced Luis Sarmiento (58 kilos), cannot be underestimated.


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