Athlete Profile

Yumileidi Cumba

  • COUNTRY Cuba Cuba
  • DATE OF BIRTH 11 FEB 1975
Yumileidi Cumba of Cumba in the Shot Put (Getty Images)
Yumileidi Cumba of Cumba in the Shot Put (Getty Images)
  • COUNTRY Cuba Cuba
  • DATE OF BIRTH 11 FEB 1975


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 28 February 2008

Yumileidi CUMBÁ Jay, Cuba (Shot Put)

Born 11 February 1975, Guantánamo; 1.83m, 105kg

Manager: Javier Sotomayor/Jesús Molina; Coach: Justo Navarro

With no sports background in her family, Yumileidi Cumbá took physical education classes every week, like all young people in Cuba, playing volleyball, basketball and other team sports, as well as athletics. "I chose athletics because I liked to run, jump and throw,” Cumbá recalled. “I remember watching Luis Mariano Delis (1980 Olympic men’s discus bronze medallist) on TV.”

Cumba, who has been tall and well-built since her teens, started to train at the age of 10 under the guidance of Eduardo Douglas Bronx, at the Sports School in Guantánamo. She was then upgraded to the national Junior Sports School in Havana in 1989, where she stared training with her current coach, Justo Navarro. “I liked the shot and the discus and practised both as a junior, but then I had to choose and picked the shot,” Cumbá said. “I have been training with Justo since I arrived in Havana. He is like a father to me.”

Cumbá savoured her first international success in 1990 when she finished second at the Central American and Caribbean Under-17 Championships in Havana and, with a 17.44 effort, in 1992, she became the top junior shot putter on the island. She was included in the Cuban team for her first international competition, the World Junior Championships, in Seoul, where she finished fourth and, a year later, claimed her first international win at the Pan American Junior Championships in Winnipeg. At senior level, she added silver at the Central American and Caribbean Games, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and silver in the Central American and Caribbean Championships, in Cali, Colombia.

In 1994, Cumbá ended her last season as a junior with the first of her eight senior national titles and the silver medal at the World Junior Championships, in Lisbon. She improved her PB by over a metre, from 17.70 to 18.78, a national junior record, which still stands.

Cumbá confirmed her progress early in 1995 when she broke the 19m barrier (19.11) in Havana, but could not repeat that form during the Pan American Games, in Mar del Plata, Argentina, where she was only third. Bad luck continued later that year. At the World Championships, in Gothenburg, she tore her ligaments and also the internal meniscus in her right knee. She could manage only a poor 15.80 and did not reach the final. That was the end of the season and she underwent surgery back in Havana.

After the surgery, her right knee was no longer the same. In 1996, she could only produce 18.57 and just missed the Olympic final with 18.55 in 13th position. The pain became severe again during a weight training session early in 1997 and she had to undergo a second surgery. She could not compete at all that year.

Back in the circle in 1998, Cumbá took the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Macaraibo, Venezuela, and ended the season with a 19.20 best and a fourth place at the IAAF World Cup, in Johannesburg.

The following year marked her return to World Championships with two sixth places – indoors, in Maebashi, Japan, and outdoors, in Seville. She improved her PB to 19.29 and won gold at the World University Games in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. She was also second at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

Two months before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Cumbá continued her progress with a 19.48 mark and finished sixth at the Games. Post-Olympic year saw her finish fifth at the World Indoor Championships, in Lisbon, and eighth outdoors in Edmonton. She also successfully defended her crown at the World University Games, in Beijing, and was second at the Goodwill Games, in Brisbane. Her bests then were 19.10 indoors and 19.00 out.

In 2002, Cumbá produced her most notable result in the last event of the season - second at the World Cup, in Madrid. She had one of her busiest years with 14 outings, of which she won 11, including her first Ibero-American title, in Guatemala City. Her best was 19.39.

A year later, she finally made it to the top of the podium at the Pan American Games, in Santo Domingo, with her season's best of 19.31. She was also sixth at the World Indoor Championships, in Birmingham, but failed to qualify for the final of the outdoor World Championships, in Paris.

Cumbá was determined to have a better 2004 and started well with her first medal at a global senior championships, silver at the World Indoors, in Budapest. That medal was upgraded to silver following the doping disqualification of Ukraine's Vita Pavlysh. The Cuban then went on to become a surprise gold medallist at the 2004 Olympic Games, in Athens (19.59) following the doping disqualification of Russia's Irina Korzhanenko.

Cumbá became the first non-European to win the Olympic gold in women's shot put history and she also joined the exclusive list of women from her country who have claimed an Olympic title in athletics. In that respect, she followed Maria Caridad Colón (javelin, Moscow 1980) and Maritza Martén (discus, Barcelona 1992) while Javelin thrower Osleidys Menéndez joined the roll call a few days later in Athens. Cumbá won eight of her 11 finals that year and improved her PB by almost half a metre, to 19.97, at the Ibero-American Championships in Huelva, Spain. She exceeded 19 metres in nine of her 13 outings.

However, her performances were restricted by physical problems in 2005, managing a season’s best of only 19.06. She won the Central American and Caribbean Games title, in Nassau, but was only sixth at the 2005 World Championships, in Helsinki, and seventh at her World Athletics Final debut, in Monaco.

Recovered from a leg injury sustained in November 2005, Cumbá opened her 2006 season in Havana with a 19.14 effort and went on to finish fifth at the World Indoor Championships, in Moscow. She stayed consistent throughout the year, putting over 19 metres in eight competitions, including her 2006 best of 19.66, a mark second only to her area record of 19.97.

After claiming her second CAC Games gold in Cartagena, Colombia, Cumbá finished fourth at the World Athletics Final, in Stuttgart, and returned to Athens, where she finished third at the World Cup.

Cumbá has been battling with a recurrent pain and right knee and, in 2007, lost the Pan American Games crown to her training partner Misleydis González in Rio de Janeiro and was only 12th at the World Championships in Osaka.

In 2008, which is probably her farewell season, she plans to regain a medal placing in her sixth World Indoor Championship, as she did four years ago in Budapest, before defending her Olympic crown later this summer in Beijing.


Personal Best

19.97 (2004), 19.31i (2004)


Yearly Progression

1990 - 14.53; 1991 - 15.84; 1992 - 17.44; 1993 - 17.70; 1994 - 18.78; 1995 - 19.11; 1996 - 18.57; 1998 - 19.20; 1999 - 19.29; 2000 - 19.48; 2001 - 19.10i; 2002 - 19.39; 2003 - 19.31; 2004 - 19.97; 2005 - 19.06; 2006 - 19.66; 2007- 18.81.


Career Highlights

1990  2nd  Central American and Caribbean Under-17 Championships
1992  4th  World Junior Championships
1993   1st  Pan American Junior Championships
1993  2nd  Central American and Caribbean Games
1993  2nd  Central American and Caribbean Championships
1994  2nd  World Junior Championships
1995  3rd  Pan American Games
1998  2nd  Central American and Caribbean Games
1998   4th       World Cup
1999  6th  World Indoor Championships
1999  2nd  Pan American Games
1999  1st  World University Games
1999   6th       World Championships
2000  6th  Olympic Games
2001  5th  World Indoor Championships
2001  8th  World Championships
2001  1st  World University Games
2002  1st  Ibero-American Championships
2002  2nd  World Cup, Madrid
2003  6th  World Indoor Championships
2003  1st  Pan American Games
2004  2nd  World Indoor Championships
2004  1st  Ibero-American Championships
2004  1st  Olympic Games, Athens
2005  6th  World Championships
2006  5th  World Indoor Championships
2006  1st  Central American and Caribbean Games
2006  4th  World Athletics Final
2006  3rd  World Cup
2007  2nd  Pan American Games
2007 12th World Championships


Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008

Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
Shot Put 19.97 Huelva 08 AUG 2004
Discus Throw 42.84 01 JAN 1993
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
Shot Put 19.31 Budapest (SA) 05 MAR 2004
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
Shot Put Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2008 18.31 Caracas 11 MAY
2007 18.81 Alcalá de Henares 07 JUL
2006 19.66 Neuwied-Engers 24 MAY
2005 19.06 Belém (Mangueirão) 22 MAY
2004 19.97 Huelva 08 AUG
2003 19.31 Santo Domingo 07 AUG
2002 19.39 Salamanca 10 JUL
2001 19.00 Salamanca 13 JUL
2000 19.48 La Habana 30 JUL
1999 19.29 Ciudad de México 19 JUN
1998 19.20 La Habana 10 JUL
1996 18.57 Alcalá de Henares 07 JUL
1995 19.11 La Habana 01 JUL
1994 18.78 Camagüey 10 JUN
1993 17.70 La Habana 03 JUL
1992 17.44 La Habana 07 AUG
1991 15.84 La Habana 04 JUN
1990 14.53 01 JAN
Discus Throw Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
1993 42.84 01 JAN
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
Shot Put Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2008 18.16 Chemnitz 29 FEB
2007 18.24 Valladolid 24 FEB
2006 18.73 Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion) 11 MAR
2004 19.31 Budapest (SA) 05 MAR
2003 19.19 Birmingham, GBR 15 MAR
2002 18.87 Pireás 20 FEB
2001 19.10 Pireás 18 FEB
2000 18.82 Stuttgart 06 FEB
1999 17.80 Maebashi 06 MAR
Honours - Shot Put
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXIX Olympic Games 9q2 17.60 Beijing (National Stadium) 16 AUG 2008
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 12 17.93 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 26 AUG 2007
10th IAAF World Cup 3 19.12 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 17 SEP 2006
4th IAAF World Athletics Final 4 18.78 Stuttgart 10 SEP 2006
11th IAAF World Indoor Championships 5 18.28 Moskva (Olimpiyskiy Stadion) 12 MAR 2006
3rd IAAF World Athletics Final 7 18.44 Monaco 09 SEP 2005
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 5 18.64 Helsinki 13 AUG 2005
28th Olympic Games 1 19.59 Olýmpia 18 AUG 2004
10th IAAF World Indoor Championships 2 19.31 Budapest (SA) 05 MAR 2004
9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 7q1 17.95 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 27 AUG 2003
9th IAAF World Indoor Championships 6 19.19 Birmingham, GBR 15 MAR 2003
9th IAAF World Cup in Athletics 2 19.14 Madrid 21 SEP 2002
8th IAAF World Championships 8 18.73 Edmonton 05 AUG 2001
8th IAAF World Indoor Championships 5 18.61 Lisboa 10 MAR 2001
27th Olympic Games 6 18.70 Sydney 28 SEP 2000
7th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6 18.44 Sevilla 25 AUG 1999
7th IAAF World Indoor Championships 6 17.80 Maebashi 06 MAR 1999
8th IAAF World Cup in Athetics 4 18.76 Johannesburg 12 SEP 1998
XXVI Olympic Games 5q1 18.55 Atlanta, GA 31 JUL 1996
5th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 10q2 15.80 Göteborg (Ullevi Stadium) 05 AUG 1995
5th IAAF World Junior Championships 2 18.09 Lisboa 21 JUL 1994
4th IAAF World Junior Championships 4 17.06 Seoul 17 SEP 1992


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 28 February 2008

Yumileidi CUMBÁ Jay, Cuba (Shot Put)

Born 11 February 1975, Guantánamo; 1.83m, 105kg

Manager: Javier Sotomayor/Jesús Molina; Coach: Justo Navarro

With no sports background in her family, Yumileidi Cumbá took physical education classes every week, like all young people in Cuba, playing volleyball, basketball and other team sports, as well as athletics. "I chose athletics because I liked to run, jump and throw,” Cumbá recalled. “I remember watching Luis Mariano Delis (1980 Olympic men’s discus bronze medallist) on TV.”

Cumba, who has been tall and well-built since her teens, started to train at the age of 10 under the guidance of Eduardo Douglas Bronx, at the Sports School in Guantánamo. She was then upgraded to the national Junior Sports School in Havana in 1989, where she stared training with her current coach, Justo Navarro. “I liked the shot and the discus and practised both as a junior, but then I had to choose and picked the shot,” Cumbá said. “I have been training with Justo since I arrived in Havana. He is like a father to me.”

Cumbá savoured her first international success in 1990 when she finished second at the Central American and Caribbean Under-17 Championships in Havana and, with a 17.44 effort, in 1992, she became the top junior shot putter on the island. She was included in the Cuban team for her first international competition, the World Junior Championships, in Seoul, where she finished fourth and, a year later, claimed her first international win at the Pan American Junior Championships in Winnipeg. At senior level, she added silver at the Central American and Caribbean Games, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and silver in the Central American and Caribbean Championships, in Cali, Colombia.

In 1994, Cumbá ended her last season as a junior with the first of her eight senior national titles and the silver medal at the World Junior Championships, in Lisbon. She improved her PB by over a metre, from 17.70 to 18.78, a national junior record, which still stands.

Cumbá confirmed her progress early in 1995 when she broke the 19m barrier (19.11) in Havana, but could not repeat that form during the Pan American Games, in Mar del Plata, Argentina, where she was only third. Bad luck continued later that year. At the World Championships, in Gothenburg, she tore her ligaments and also the internal meniscus in her right knee. She could manage only a poor 15.80 and did not reach the final. That was the end of the season and she underwent surgery back in Havana.

After the surgery, her right knee was no longer the same. In 1996, she could only produce 18.57 and just missed the Olympic final with 18.55 in 13th position. The pain became severe again during a weight training session early in 1997 and she had to undergo a second surgery. She could not compete at all that year.

Back in the circle in 1998, Cumbá took the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Macaraibo, Venezuela, and ended the season with a 19.20 best and a fourth place at the IAAF World Cup, in Johannesburg.

The following year marked her return to World Championships with two sixth places – indoors, in Maebashi, Japan, and outdoors, in Seville. She improved her PB to 19.29 and won gold at the World University Games in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. She was also second at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

Two months before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Cumbá continued her progress with a 19.48 mark and finished sixth at the Games. Post-Olympic year saw her finish fifth at the World Indoor Championships, in Lisbon, and eighth outdoors in Edmonton. She also successfully defended her crown at the World University Games, in Beijing, and was second at the Goodwill Games, in Brisbane. Her bests then were 19.10 indoors and 19.00 out.

In 2002, Cumbá produced her most notable result in the last event of the season - second at the World Cup, in Madrid. She had one of her busiest years with 14 outings, of which she won 11, including her first Ibero-American title, in Guatemala City. Her best was 19.39.

A year later, she finally made it to the top of the podium at the Pan American Games, in Santo Domingo, with her season's best of 19.31. She was also sixth at the World Indoor Championships, in Birmingham, but failed to qualify for the final of the outdoor World Championships, in Paris.

Cumbá was determined to have a better 2004 and started well with her first medal at a global senior championships, silver at the World Indoors, in Budapest. That medal was upgraded to silver following the doping disqualification of Ukraine's Vita Pavlysh. The Cuban then went on to become a surprise gold medallist at the 2004 Olympic Games, in Athens (19.59) following the doping disqualification of Russia's Irina Korzhanenko.

Cumbá became the first non-European to win the Olympic gold in women's shot put history and she also joined the exclusive list of women from her country who have claimed an Olympic title in athletics. In that respect, she followed Maria Caridad Colón (javelin, Moscow 1980) and Maritza Martén (discus, Barcelona 1992) while Javelin thrower Osleidys Menéndez joined the roll call a few days later in Athens. Cumbá won eight of her 11 finals that year and improved her PB by almost half a metre, to 19.97, at the Ibero-American Championships in Huelva, Spain. She exceeded 19 metres in nine of her 13 outings.

However, her performances were restricted by physical problems in 2005, managing a season’s best of only 19.06. She won the Central American and Caribbean Games title, in Nassau, but was only sixth at the 2005 World Championships, in Helsinki, and seventh at her World Athletics Final debut, in Monaco.

Recovered from a leg injury sustained in November 2005, Cumbá opened her 2006 season in Havana with a 19.14 effort and went on to finish fifth at the World Indoor Championships, in Moscow. She stayed consistent throughout the year, putting over 19 metres in eight competitions, including her 2006 best of 19.66, a mark second only to her area record of 19.97.

After claiming her second CAC Games gold in Cartagena, Colombia, Cumbá finished fourth at the World Athletics Final, in Stuttgart, and returned to Athens, where she finished third at the World Cup.

Cumbá has been battling with a recurrent pain and right knee and, in 2007, lost the Pan American Games crown to her training partner Misleydis González in Rio de Janeiro and was only 12th at the World Championships in Osaka.

In 2008, which is probably her farewell season, she plans to regain a medal placing in her sixth World Indoor Championship, as she did four years ago in Budapest, before defending her Olympic crown later this summer in Beijing.


Personal Best

19.97 (2004), 19.31i (2004)


Yearly Progression

1990 - 14.53; 1991 - 15.84; 1992 - 17.44; 1993 - 17.70; 1994 - 18.78; 1995 - 19.11; 1996 - 18.57; 1998 - 19.20; 1999 - 19.29; 2000 - 19.48; 2001 - 19.10i; 2002 - 19.39; 2003 - 19.31; 2004 - 19.97; 2005 - 19.06; 2006 - 19.66; 2007- 18.81.


Career Highlights

1990  2nd  Central American and Caribbean Under-17 Championships
1992  4th  World Junior Championships
1993   1st  Pan American Junior Championships
1993  2nd  Central American and Caribbean Games
1993  2nd  Central American and Caribbean Championships
1994  2nd  World Junior Championships
1995  3rd  Pan American Games
1998  2nd  Central American and Caribbean Games
1998   4th       World Cup
1999  6th  World Indoor Championships
1999  2nd  Pan American Games
1999  1st  World University Games
1999   6th       World Championships
2000  6th  Olympic Games
2001  5th  World Indoor Championships
2001  8th  World Championships
2001  1st  World University Games
2002  1st  Ibero-American Championships
2002  2nd  World Cup, Madrid
2003  6th  World Indoor Championships
2003  1st  Pan American Games
2004  2nd  World Indoor Championships
2004  1st  Ibero-American Championships
2004  1st  Olympic Games, Athens
2005  6th  World Championships
2006  5th  World Indoor Championships
2006  1st  Central American and Caribbean Games
2006  4th  World Athletics Final
2006  3rd  World Cup
2007  2nd  Pan American Games
2007 12th World Championships


Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008