Updated 20 August 2007
Yarelis BARRIOS Castaneda , Cuba (Discus Throw)
Born 12 July 1983, Pinar del Rio, 1.72m 89kg
Coach: Raul Calderon
Yarelis Barrios is part of the new generation of Cuban athletes and has gradually emerged on the Discus scene. Together with Yania Ferrales, she hopes to see two Cubans in the World Championships final in Osaka.
Barrios always liked sports. Although she preferred basketball, she took up athletics at the age of 14. There was no close sporting background in the family but they have always supported her. She started to excel in the Discus thanks to her strength and continued to improve, which prompted her to focus on the event.
Although she did not have major competitive experience, Barrios finished her junior
career with 54.10m in 2002, but she was not selected for the World Junior Championships, in Kingston, that year. In 2004, she joined the national senior team and soon began to enjoy international success.
Not far from home, Barrios claimed her first international title when winning the Central American and Caribbean Championships, in Nassau, in July 2005.
A year later, she finished runner-up to Ferrales, her training partner, at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Cartagena, Colombia.
The current season has been a breakthrough for Barrios, who impressed early in March with a 66.68m throw, over five metres farther than her previous best.
In the summer, she achieved back-to-back victories at the Pan American Games, in Rio de Janeiro, and the World University Games, in Bangkok, two weeks later. The latter was the Island’s first WUG athletics gold medal since 2001.
With the biggest challenge of her career so far, Barrios hopes to finish in the top six in Osaka. “I am enjoying the best moment of my career and I would like to keep the momentum in Osaka. I need to throw around 63m to be among the world’s best,“ said a confident Barrios.
Outside athletics, Barrios completed her Physical Education studies this year at the Higher Sports Institute in Havana. Her free time is limited, but she likes to spend what little she has with her family and boyfriend. She also loves to listen to romantic music. A younger cousin plays basketball and sees Yarelis as a role model to follow.
1999: 44.45; 2000: 50.22; 2001: 48.92; 2002: 54.10; 2003: 58.37; 2004: 59.51; 2005: 60.61; 2006: 61.01; 2007: 66.68.
2005 1st Central American and Caribbean Championships
2006 2nd Central American and Caribbean Games
2007 1st Pan American Games
2007 1st World University Games
Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2007.