Updated 28 February 2008
David GIRALT Rivero, Cuba (Triple Jump)
Born: 26 August 1984, Santiago de Cuba 1.82m/72kg
Manager: Javier Sotomayor/Jesús Molina Coach: David Giralt
Born to a sporting family, David Giralt rose quickly to stardom and, after appearing in three consecutive outdoor senior World Championship finals in the triple jump, the 23-year old is ready to make his World Indoor Championships debut in Valencia.
Born in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, the Island’s second largest, Giralt followed the tradition of his homonymous father, who became the first Cuban to break the eight-metres mark in the long jump and is the only Cuban to beat four-time Olympic long jump champion, Carl Lewis, in that event. He was also third at the 1979 World Cup.
A younger sister, Suslaidis, born in 1986, is a deaf-mute. However, she has also followed her father’s footsteps. An 11.4 100m sprinter and 6.27 long jumper, she boasts the world best in the latter event among her peers.
Under the guidance of his father, Giralt soon emerged as a promising triple jumper and, before he turned 17, he made his international debut with a silver medal at the World Youth Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, in 2001.
A year later, he added another title at the Central American and Caribbean Championships, as well as the World Junior crown in Kingston, Jamaica. With a personal best of 16.84m, he was poised to become the next Cuban to join the 17-metres club.
That is precisely what happened in Havana, in June 2003, before he claimed the Pan American junior gold in Barbados. Placed third in the national rankings, he missed the Pan American Games but made the national team for the World Championships in Paris. With an impressive 17.31 in qualification, he was ready for a medal, but had to be content with fourth place (17.23), still a great performance three days before he turned 19.
Those merits earned him the distinction of the Cuban Junior Sportsman of 2003.
As soon as he joined the national senior team in Havana, he trained under the guidance of Ricardo Ponce, who also coaches four-time World Championships medallist (two outdoors, two indoors) Yoandri Betanzos, Osniel Tosca and others.
In 2004, Giralt won the Ibero-American gold in Huelva, just a few weeks before his Olympic debut in Athens, where he could not qualify for the final. Injuries have slowed his progress, but he still managed to compete in the last two World Championships, finishing 8th in Helsinki in 2005 and 7th in Osaka in 2007. As a good sign of his recovery, he improved his personal best to 17.39 indoors in the winter of 2007, but could not repeat that form in the summer.
After the World Championshipss, he started to train again under his father’s instructions.
In 2008, he did not join the team for the winter campaign, but showed his readiness for Valencia as he jumped 17.42 outdoors on February 9 and 17.50 outdoors a week later to earn a spot in the Cuban team.
“My goal is to win a medal,” Giralt said. “I am in great form, better than ever. I hope this is my year. Injuries are history. Valencia is the first target of the season and then the Olympics. I have already met the standard, but have to stay consistent as there are many good jumpers in Cuba.”
After two failed attempts - his father in Moscow 1980 and him in Athens 2004 - Giralt wants to fulfill the family’s dream of competing in the Olympic final. Beijing is expected to witness that and Valencia should confirm the younger Giralt’s aspirations.
Triple Jump: 17.50 (2008), 17.39; (2007)
Long Jump: 7.70 (2002)
2000 - 15.23; 2001 - 16.33; 2002 - 16.84; 2003 - 17.31; 2004 - 17.12; 2005 - 17.14; 2006 - 16.97; 2007 - 17.10/17.18w, 2008 - 17.50.
2001 2nd World Youth Championships
2002 1st Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships
2002 1st World Junior Championships
2003 1st Pan American Junior Championships
2003 4th World Championships
2004 1st Ibero-American Championships
2005 8th World Championships
2007 7th World Championships
Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.