Updated 28 February 2008
Víctor Rafael MOYA Carvajal, Cuba (High Jump)
Born 24 October 1982, Santiago de Cuba; 1.94m / 80kg
Manager: Javier Sotomayor; Coach: Bárbaro Diaz
As a young boy, Victor Moya had wanted to be a sprinter. “But I began to grow up and lost speed,” Moya recalled. “So I turned to combined events in school and took up the high jump at the age of 14.”
It was while Moya was participating in physical education in school that his sports teacher discovered his potential for the vertical jumps. At first he was first coached by former national record holder Luis E. Milanés and his second coach, former national record holder Marima Rodríguez (1.83m in 1972), taught him to jump aggressively.
After clearing 2.10, Moya joined the national team in 2001, the year that world record holder Javier Sotomayor retired. In 2002 he made his international debut, with 8th place at the 2002 Ibero-American Championships, in Guatemala. In 2003 and 2004, he was in the shadow of Lisvany Pérez, the sole Cuban high jumper in the Pan American Games, in Santo Domingo, and at the Olympic Games, in Athens.
In 2005, Moya became the revelation of Cuban athletics. He took part in 23 competitions and improved from 2.25 to 2.35. He was his country’s choice for the World Championships, in Helsinki, after beating Perez at the Central American and Caribbean Championships, in Nassau. Both had jumped 2.29 and were just one centimetre short of the IAAF A standard (2.30), which would have allowed both to enter. “It was very sad to see Lisvany out of team,” Moya said. “Both of us dreamed of Helsinki.”
Moya’s magic year continued after his surprising silver medal (2.29) in Helsinki, where, at 22, he became the fourth Cuban high jumper to win a World Championship medal. The others are Sotomayor (six world titles, four indoors and two out), Ioamnet Quintero and Silvia Costa (women’s gold and silver medallists respectively, in Stuttgart, in 1993). A week later, in Eberstadt, he became the fourth Cuban ever to clear 2.30.
A podium place in the Finnish capital opened doors for Moya to the big European meetings. In Zürich he jumped a rain-soaked 2.28 for 2nd, then came the 2.30 in Eberstadt (2nd), then three more 2.30-plus performances: Brussels 2.31 (his first Golden League victory), Berlin 2.30 (2nd) and his win at the World Athletics Final, in Monaco.
In the closing stages of the competition in Monaco, Moya cleared a PB 2.32 on his third attempt, but was still out of the medals. Then a first-attempt clearance at 2.35 moved him from fourth to first place and gave him the meeting record.
These results propelled Moya up the IAAF World Rankings from 51st in 2004 to 3rd. He also moved up to 2nd in the all-time national list, behind Sotomayor’s world mark of 2.45. (Marino Drake cleared 2.34 in 1991 and Juan Francisco Centelles 2.32 in 1983).
Indoors, Moya made his debut in 2005 with a short tour of four competitions in Europe. His best was 2.21. He improved to 2.30 to finish fourth at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships, in Moscow.
In 2006, he saw his outdoor season curtailed due to illness and he could not achieve his two major goals of the year: the Central American and Caribbean Games in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, and the World Cup in Athens.
In 2007, Moya has improved his indoor PB to 2.31 and recovered in time from a minor pain in his take-off leg to claim the Pan American gold in Rio de Janeiro. However, he could not repeat the podium position from Helsinki as he finished equal fifth (2.30) at the World Championships, in Osaka.
In the winter of 2008, Moya has already cleared 2.30 in the very competitive indoor season. He knows he has to be close to or at his best to win a medal in Valencia. It will be his second World Indoor Championships.
Fond of a particular Santiago de Cuba conga, performed by the Surcaribe band, Moya plays it for inspiration during contests in Europe. He is the second of four children (two boys and two twin girls). His father, Victor Manuel Moya, an electrical engineer, competed in high jump at the National Youth Games in the 1970s. His mother, Juana Pilar, is a physiotherapist.
2.35 (2005); 2.31i (2007)
2001 - 2.10; 2002 - 2.21; 2003 - 2.18; 2004 - 2.25; 2005 - 2.35; 2006 - 2.31; 2007 - 2.33; 2008-2.30i
2005 1st Central American and Caribbean Championships
2005 2nd World Championships
2005 1st World Athletics Final
2006 4th World Indoor Championships
2007 1st Pan American Games
2007 5th World Championships
Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF.’Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.