Aymee Martinez of Cuba celebrates in winning the Girls' 200m final at the World Youth Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Ostrava

High hopes for Cuba in Ostrava

Cuba will be represented by a small team of eight athletes but all carry high medal hopes at the 5 th IAAF World Youth Championships in Ostrava, starting tomorrow, Wednesday.

Two athletes lead their respective events in the 2007 World Youth Lists coming up to Ostrava and are eagerly awaiting to make their international debut.
As in the past editions, the Island bets on her jumpers and throwers, with Dianelis Alcántara a top favourite for the Triple Jump gold.
Alcántara, who will turn 16 on 10 August, leapt14.21m for a world age best and has been consistent over 13.70m.

Nataly Martinez, the tall daughter of 1993 High Jump World silver medallist Silvia Costa and 4x400 Olympic and World medallist Lazaro Martinez, tops the lists in the 100m Hurdles with 13.35.

She will be joined by her training partner Belkis Milanés, who has run 13.68 this season.

In the throws, hammer specialists Reinier Mejias and Yuliet Hernández are two other medal hopes. Hernández has thrown 62.05m and trails Romania's Bianca Perie in the world lists. Mejias has taken the 5kg implement to 75.32 metres to place sixth on the world youth lists.

The three other members are Reinier Valdés, fifth in the 400m (47.16), Juana Ivis Méndez, fifth in the 800m (2: 05.48) and Nieves Berroa, sixth in the Shot Put (15.05).

Former athletes Eloina Kerr, David Giralt and Raidel Mantilla will accompany the team as coaches.

Cuba attended the past four editions of the IAAF World Youth Championships, with a total tally of 20 medals (6 gold, 8 silver and 6 bronze).

In Marrakech 2005, the Island claimed six medals with seven athletes placing fifth in the medal table. Aymée Martinez (200m), Hector Dairon Fuentes (triple jump) and Yordanis Garcia (Octathlon) clinched the titles in their respective events with the latter smashing the World Youth best.

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF