|400 Metres||53.87||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||18 MAR 2014|
|800 Metres||1:57.74||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||25 MAY 2014|
|1000 Metres||2:37.5||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||25 APR 2014|
|1500 Metres||4:14.73||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||09 OCT 2014|
|2014||53.87||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||18 MAR|
|2012||54.20||San Salvador||01 JUL|
|2014||1:57.74||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||25 MAY|
|2013||2:01.30||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||28 JUN|
|2012||2:03.67||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||08 JUN|
|2011||2:04.09||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||17 JUN|
|2014||2:37.5||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||25 APR|
|2013||2:42.8||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||28 NOV|
|2014||4:14.73||La Habana (Estadio Panamericano)||09 OCT|
Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.
Updated 8 September 2014
Born: 26 August 1995, Jovellanos (
Weight: 52kg Height: 1,71m
Coach: Frank Ayala
The only child
of former 400m-800m runner Rosa Mesa and Miguel Diago, Sahily was born in the
small town of
Her mother, a Physical Education teacher, has been the sporting influence in her life. A hyperactive girl, she was enrolled in basketball when she was 10, but opted for athletics a few weeks later. “I was always running when I was a kid. I didn’t like basketball much so I changed to athletics,” she recalled. Soel Santuntun, aka "Cholo", was her first coach.
Success soon followed at municipal and provincial level, which
earned her the right to compete at the National School Games in
At the 2010
National Youth Games, Sahily won the 800m in 2:12.4 minutes and finished second
in 1200m. Those performances allowed her to join the national junior team in
national junior team in
supervision, she showed rapid progress. She took her personal bests to 55.47 in
400m and 2:04.09 in 800m. She was ranked third in the world in the longer
distance and was considered a top medal contender for the 2011 World Youth
However, she had a tonsillitis crisis a week before she left for
“The World Youth Championships was the first time I competed overseas so I will always remember that experience, but I left with a bitter feeling, knowing that I could have performed better if I was healthy,” she said.
In 2012, she
peaked later than expected. She ran a personal best of 2:00.9 in 800m and 54.20
in 400m. That time earned her the silver medal at the Central American and
Caribbean Junior Championships in
was named an alternate runner as part of the Cuban 4x400m squad for the Olympic
“It was an incredible experience more so being the youngest of the Cuban athletics team. I did not run, but managed to feel the spirit of the Olympic Village. I watched several races live in the stadium. I have great memories of seeing Alyson Felix and the women’s 400m final,” Sahily commented.
In 2013, she
put more emphasis on her studies to finish high school. She won her first
national senor title and competed internationally in
In the latter, she was the top favorite to win gold at the Pan American Junior Championships, but was disqualified for obstructing a Canadian athlete in the final stretch.
“I was overconfident going into the final. I did not place myself and paid the price. It was certainly a lesson that I will not forget”.
Continued hard work and dedication paved the way for her breakthrough in 2014.
Early in March
she set a world junior leading 2:01.87 and then set an impressive
world leading and Area Junior Record of 1:58.14. Two weeks later, she smashed
legendary Ana Fidelia Quirot’s meet record at the Barrientos Memorial with
another world class 1:57.74. That time ranks her third on the Cuban all-time lists behind 1995 and 1997 World champion
Ana Fidelia Quirot (1:54.44) and 2005 World champion Zulia Calatayud (1:56.09),
as well as eighth on the junior all-time lists. She was now billed as a top
contender for gold at the World Junior Championships in
In addition, she also improved her 400m best to 53.87.
performances opened her door to her first races in Europe, including her
Diamond League debut in
She was invited to
She soon returned to
Taken by surprise by Iceland’s Aníta Hinriksdóttir’s fast first lap (under 57 seconds) in the final, Diago had a lot of physical contact with Kenya’s Margaret Wambui,, who overtook her in the final 100m to grab gold, a second a half ahead of the Cuban.
“The Kenyan athlete was very strong. I could
have run the first lap faster, to avoid all the physical contact with Wambui
that affected my ability to sprint faster in the end. I wanted gold, but this
silver is also special. I worked hard during four years to win my first global
medal. I had to stop training after my injury in
Her fast times and the global medal earned a spot on Team Americas for the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech.
“It is a reward for what I have accomplished this year. It has been a long season for me. It is just one race and I will give it all,” said Diago, who wants to follow two countrywomen: Ana Fidelia Quirot and Zulia Calatayud, winners of this global event in 1989 and 2006, respectively.
Diago is also eying the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, 23-30 November.
Her coach Frank Ayala provides an insight into her rapid progress.
“Her aerobic and anaerobic capacities are excellent. The way she moves on the track is comparable to the Kenyans and Savinova. She has a great ability to analyse races and stayed focused. She gives it all in training,” he said.
Ayala believes she has to continue working on her coordination and “she is sometimes overconfident. She may think she has the situation under control and it may not be the case.”
In her free
time, Sahily loves reading, watching TV and listening to romantic music. Very close
to her family, she goes back home almost every weekend and stays connected to
her mom, who is currently working in
400m- 53.87 (2014)
500m- 1:07.9 (2014)
600m- 1:26.1 (2013)
800m- 1:57.74 (2014) AJR
1000m- 2:37.5 (2014)
2011-55.47; 2012-54.20; 2013-55.22; 2014-53.87
2010- 2:12.4; 2011-2:04.09; 2012-2:00.9h; 2013-2:01.30; 2014-1:57.74 AJR
World Youth Championships (
National Championships (400m)
Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships (
National Junior Championships (400m)
National Junior Championships
Pan American Junior Championships (
National Championships (400m)
National Championships (La Habana)
IAAF World Junior Championships (Eugene)
Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2014