Sahily DIAGO MESA

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    Cuba Cuba
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    26 AUG 1995
    ATHLETE'S IAAF CODE
    262811

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
400 Metres 53.76 La Habana (CUB) 20 FEB 2016
600 Metres 1:26.1h La Habana (CUB) 09 APR 2013
800 Metres 1:57.74 La Habana (CUB) 25 MAY 2014
1500 Metres 4:14.73 La Habana (CUB) 09 OCT 2014
4x400 Metres Relay 3:36.15 Camagüey (CUB) 09 MAR 2014
4x800 Metres Relay 8:15.84 Nassau (BAH) 03 MAY 2015

Legend

* Not legal.

Latest Active Season: 2016

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
400 Metres 53.76 La Habana (CUB) 20 FEB 2016
800 Metres 1:58.84 Puebla (MEX) 17 APR 2016
4x400 Metres Relay 3:37.47 Santo Domingo (DOM) 19 MAR 2016

Outdoor

400 Metres

Performance Place Date
2016 53.76 La Habana (CUB) 20 FEB 2016
2014 53.87 La Habana (CUB) 18 MAR 2014
2012 54.20 San Salvador (ESA) 01 JUL 2012
2011 55.47 Camagüey (CUB) 05 MAR 2011

Outdoor

800 Metres

Performance Place Date
2016 1:58.84 Puebla (MEX) 17 APR 2016
2015 1:59.91 Ponce (PUR) 23 MAY 2015
2014 1:57.74 La Habana (CUB) 25 MAY 2014
2013 2:01.30 La Habana (CUB) 28 JUN 2013
2012 2:03.67 La Habana (CUB) 08 JUN 2012
2011 2:04.09 La Habana (CUB) 17 JUN 2011

Outdoor

1500 Metres

Performance Place Date
2014 4:14.73 La Habana (CUB) 09 OCT 2014

Outdoor

4x400 Metres Relay

Performance Place Date
2016 3:37.47 Santo Domingo (DOM) 19 MAR 2016
2014 3:36.15 Camagüey (CUB) 09 MAR 2014
2013 3:37.56 La Habana (CUB) 17 MAR 2013
2011 3:37.31 La Habana (CUB) 19 MAR 2011

Outdoor

4x800 Metres Relay

Performance Place Date
2015 8:15.84 Nassau (BAH) 03 MAY 2015

Honours - World (Continental) Cup

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
6. 800 Metres 2:00.96 Marrakesh (MAR) 13 SEP 2014

Honours - World U20 Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 800 Metres 2:02.11 Eugene, OR (USA) 24 JUL 2014

Honours - National Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 800 Metres 2:04.69 La Habana (CUB) 17 MAR 2013
1. 4x400 Metres Relay 3:37.56 La Habana (CUB) 17 MAR 2013
Results in:

400 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
12 FEB 2016 La Habana CUBCUB F F 2. 54.14
20 FEB 2016 La Habana CUBCUB F F 5. 53.76

800 Metres

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
27 FEB 2016 Camagüey Rafael Fortún Memorial CUBCUB F H2 1. 2:10.86
28 FEB 2016 Camagüey Rafael Fortún Memorial CUBCUB F F 1. 2:02.71
19 MAR 2016 Santo Domingo Juegos de la Mujer DOMDOM F F 2. 2:05.47
17 APR 2016 Puebla MEXMEX F F 1. 1:58.84
28 MAY 2016 La Habana Copa Cuba de Atletismo - Memorial Barrientos CUBCUB B H2 2. 2:05.71
29 MAY 2016 La Habana Copa Cuba de Atletismo - Memorial Barrientos CUBCUB B F 3. 2:01.72
07 JUN 2016 Montreuil-sous-Bois Meeting International FRAFRA D F 8. 2:02.50
14 JUN 2016 Nancy Meeting Stanislas FRAFRA D F 4. 2:03.97
23 JUN 2016 Madrid Meeting 2016 ESPESP B F1 6. 2:01.50
30 JUN 2016 Barcelona Regional Ch. ESPESP F F1 7. 2:02.16
17 JUL 2016 San Salvador NACAC U23 Ch. ESAESA C F 3. 2:04.20
17 AUG 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games BRABRA OW H1 3. 2:01.38

4x400 Metres Relay

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
28 FEB 2016 Camagüey Rafael Fortún Memorial CUBCUB F F 3. 3:48.61
19 MAR 2016 Santo Domingo Juegos de la Mujer DOMDOM F F 1. 3:37.47

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Updated 8 September 2014

 

Sahily DIAGO MESA, Cuba (800m)  

Born: 26 August 1995, Jovellanos (Matanzas)

Weight: 52kg Height: 1,71m 

Coach: Frank Ayala

  

The only child of former 400m-800m runner Rosa Mesa and Miguel Diago, Sahily was born in the small town of Carlos Rojas in the municipality of Jovellanos, in the western of province of Matanzas. She has an older sister on her father’s side.

Her mother, a Physical Education teacher, has been the sporting influence in her life. A hyperactive girl, she was enrolled in basketball when she was 10, but opted for athletics a few weeks later. “I was always running when I was a kid. I didn’t like basketball much so I changed to athletics,” she recalled. Soel Santuntun, aka "Cholo", was her first coach.

Success soon followed at municipal and provincial level, which earned her the right to compete at the National School Games in Havana. She ran 60m, 1200m, did High and Long Jump, as well as throwing a baseball ball. Her performance opened her doors at the provincial sports school in the city of Matanzas.

 

At the 2010 National Youth Games, Sahily won the 800m in 2:12.4 minutes and finished second in 1200m. Those performances allowed her to join the national junior team in Havana.

Joining the national junior team in Havana meant being away from her family for the first time. “She would cry every day. I thought she would be able to handle being away from her parents. We did a thorough psychological work. Her family helped a lot,” recalled her coach Frank Ayala.

Under his supervision, she showed rapid progress. She took her personal bests to 55.47 in 400m and 2:04.09 in 800m. She was ranked third in the world in the longer distance and was considered a top medal contender for the 2011 World Youth Championships in Lille.

However, she had a tonsillitis crisis a week before she left for France. She could not recover on time and could not advance past the semifinals.

“The World Youth Championships was the first time I competed overseas so I will always remember that experience, but I left with a bitter feeling, knowing that I could have performed better if I was healthy,” she said.

 

In 2012, she peaked later than expected. She ran a personal best of 2:00.9 in 800m and 54.20 in 400m. That time earned her the silver medal at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in El Salvador. As she achieved 2:00.9 in late June, she could not meet all the travel requirements in time to participate at the World Junior Championships.

However, she was named an alternate runner as part of the Cuban 4x400m squad for the Olympic Games in London.

“It was an incredible experience more so being the youngest of the Cuban athletics team. I did not run, but managed to feel the spirit of the Olympic Village. I watched several races live in the stadium. I have great memories of seeing Alyson Felix and the women’s 400m final,” Sahily commented.

 

In 2013, she put more emphasis on her studies to finish high school. She won her first national senor title and competed internationally in Martinique, Brazil and Colombia.

In the latter, she was the top favorite to win gold at the Pan American Junior Championships, but was disqualified for obstructing a Canadian athlete in the final stretch.

“I was overconfident going into the final. I did not place myself and paid the price. It was certainly a lesson that I will not forget”.

Continued hard work and dedication paved the way for her breakthrough in 2014.

Early in March she set a world junior leading 2:01.87 and then set an impressive world leading and Area Junior Record of 1:58.14. Two weeks later, she smashed legendary Ana Fidelia Quirot’s meet record at the Barrientos Memorial with another world class 1:57.74. That time ranks her third on the Cuban all-time lists behind 1995 and 1997 World champion Ana Fidelia Quirot (1:54.44) and 2005 World champion Zulia Calatayud (1:56.09), as well as eighth on the junior all-time lists. She was now billed as a top contender for gold at the World Junior Championships in Eugene.

 

In addition, she also improved her 400m best to 53.87.

Those performances opened her door to her first races in Europe, including her Diamond League debut in Rome, where she finished second behind World champion Eunice Sum.

Rome was a beautiful experience, running with women I had only seen on TV. My coach told me how the race would unfold and it happened exactly as he said it.  I met Caster Semenya and she gave me words of encouragement,” commented Diago.

She was invited to Hengelo, but not fully recovered from Rome; she sustained a first degree rupture. With no coach around to guide her, “I still ran because I was already there.”

She soon returned to Havana, where she has recovered well in time for Eugene. At Hayward Field, she tested her competitive spirit again and for the first time did three races over the same number of days.

Taken by surprise by Iceland’s Aníta Hinriksdóttir’s fast first lap (under 57 seconds) in the final, Diago had a lot of physical contact with Kenya’s Margaret Wambui,, who overtook her in the final 100m to grab gold, a second a half ahead of the Cuban.

 

“The Kenyan athlete was very strong. I could have run the first lap faster, to avoid all the physical contact with Wambui that affected my ability to sprint faster in the end. I wanted gold, but this silver is also special. I worked hard during four years to win my first global medal. I had to stop training after my injury in Europe. I am very grateful for this,” said Diago, who became the first Cuban female athlete to win an 800m global junior medal.

 

Her fast times and the global medal earned a spot on Team Americas for the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech.

 

“It is a reward for what I have accomplished this year. It has been a long season for me. It is just one race and I will give it all,” said Diago, who wants to follow two countrywomen: Ana Fidelia Quirot and Zulia Calatayud, winners of this global event in 1989 and 2006, respectively.

Diago is also eying the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, 23-30 November.

Her coach Frank Ayala provides an insight into her rapid progress.

“Her aerobic and anaerobic capacities are excellent. The way she moves on the track is comparable to the Kenyans and Savinova. She has a great ability to analyse races and stayed focused. She gives it all in training,” he said.

Ayala believes she has to continue working on her coordination and “she is sometimes overconfident. She may think she has the situation under control and it may not be the case.”

In her free time, Sahily loves reading, watching TV and listening to romantic music. Very close to her family, she goes back home almost every weekend and stays connected to her mom, who is currently working in Venezuela. In September, she is starting the final year of a 2-year technical program to become Physical Education teacher.

In Cuba, she sees two-time former world champion and two-time Olympic medallist Ana Fidelia Quirot as her idol. “I met her in 2011 and she gave me a lot of advice and encouragement to keep working hard and aim high in my athletic career.”

 

Personal Bests

400m- 53.87 (2014)

500m- 1:07.9 (2014)

600m- 1:26.1 (2013)

800m- 1:57.74 (2014) AJR

1000m- 2:37.5 (2014)

Yearly Progression

400m

2011-55.47; 2012-54.20; 2013-55.22; 2014-53.87

800m

2010- 2:12.4; 2011-2:04.09; 2012-2:00.9h; 2013-2:01.30; 2014-1:57.74 AJR

 

Career Highlights

2011

6th

National Championships

2:08.95

2011

5sf

World Youth Championships (Lille)

2:08.25

2012

3rd

National Championships (400m)

55.09

2012

2nd

Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships (San Salvador) (400m)

54.20

2013

1st

National Championships

2:04.69

2013

1st

National Junior Championships (400m)

54.0h

2013

1st

National Junior Championships

2:06.0

2013

DQ

Pan American Junior Championships (Medellin)

 

2014

 3rd

National Championships (400m)

53.87

2014

 2nd

National Championships

2:02.48

2014

1st  

National Championships (La Habana)

1:58.14

2014

2nd

IAAF World Junior Championships (Eugene)

2:02.11

 

Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2014