Updated 28 February 2008
Yoandri BETANZOS Francis, Cuba (Triple Jump)
Born 15 February 1982, Ciego de Ávila. 1.79m/71kg
Manager: Javier Sotomayor. Coach: Ricardo Ponce
Yoandri Betanzos is the second of three sons born to his father, Alvaro, a boxer, and his mother, Amarilis, a former sprinter. His younger brother, Yunier, born in 1989, is a sprinter (100m PB of 10.63 in 2007).
As a child, Yoandri first took up boxing but changed to athletics at the age of nine. His first coach was Rafael Alvarez, who discovered his talent for jumps, especially the high jump. Moving up to the EIDE Sports School, under Osmani Garcia´s guidance he improved to 1.96 in the high jump. As he is not tall, his coach suggested he could be more successful in the triple jump. A 14.96 performance earned him promotion to the national junior team.
Once in Havana, training with coach, Ricardo Ponce, Betanzos improved to 15.94 and a wind-aided 16.07. He made his international debut with a silver medal at the 1999 inaugural World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland (15.83). He continued to progress with the silver medal at the 2000 World Junior Championships, in Santiago, Chile (16.34), followed by a big year in 2001: a silver medal at the CAC Championships in Guatemala (16.64), 5th place at the World University Games in Beijing (16.86), and gold at the Pan American Junior Championships in Santa Fe, Argentina.
After breaking the 17m barrier for the first time in 2002 (17.29), Betanzos had a further breakthrough in 2003, when he claimed the Pan American Games title in Santo Domingo (17.26) and took the silver medal at the World Championships in Paris (17.28). In 2004, he made his indoor debut and won the bronze medal at the World Indoor Championships in Budapest (17.36).
Betanzos was injured just before the Olympics, at the Ibero-American Championships in Huelva (2nd 17.18), but his desire to do well in Athens drove him to a personal best of 17.53 in the qualifying round. He managed 17.47 in the final but had to settle for 4th. The following year, he confirmed his world class status by repeating as silver medallist at the World Championships in Helsinki (17.42), followed by a convincing win at the World Athletics Final in Monaco (17.46).
After winning five medals (four silver and one bronze) in the seven global championships he had entered (one youth, one junior, two senior outdoor and one indoor) Betanzos improved his personal best to 17.63 in Havana in February 2006 and repeated his bronze medal performance at the World Indoor Championships, in Moscow.
In the summer, he also won gold and broke the CAC Games record in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, in July, before defending his title successfully at the World Athletics Final. However, he felt short in the World Rankings to represent the Americas team at the IAAF World Cup in Athens.
In 2007, he experienced a below-par season. Afflicted by injuries, he could not improve from his 17.12 jump indoors. He could only finish third at the Pan American Games, in Rio, and failed to qualify for the final at the World Championships, in Osaka.
In 2008, he has had three outings indoors, with a best of 17.12. “I am hoping to peak in Valencia (2008 World Indoor Championships) and fight to stay on the podium as I have been in the past editions”, said Betanzos.
Off the track, he loves to play basketball, and he continues to enjoy the high jump, having improved his best to 2.10. He likes reggae and hip hop music, as well as dancing.
1998 - 14.96; 1999 - 15.94/16.07w; 2000 - 16.82; 2001 - 16.84/16.86w; 2002 - 17.29; 2003 - 17.28; 2004 - 17.53; 2005 - 17.46; 2006 - 17.63; 2007- 17.12i/17.21w.
1999 2nd World Youth Championships
2000 2nd World Junior Championships
2001 2nd Central American and Caribbean Championships
2001 5th World University Games
2001 1st Pan American Junior Championships
2003 1st Pan American Games
2003 2nd World Championships
2004 3rd World Indoor Championships
2004 4th Olympic Games
2005 1st Central American and Caribbean Championships
2005 2nd World Championships
2005 1st World Athletics Final
2006 3rd World Indoor Championships
2006 1st Central American and Caribbean Games
2006 1st World Athletics Final
2007 3rd Pan Am Games
Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2008.