Photo: Ismael Batista

Without a doubt, Filiberto Delgado is one of the most outstanding Cuban wrestling strategists of the past decades. Hence, the Cuban Wrestling Federation had plenty of reasons to entrust the training of the women’s national team to this coach from Havana.

Born in the municipality of Marianao, “Puly” - as he is known - boasts having been head coach for 12 years (1996-2008) of the male freestyle team that represented Cuba in the international arena. Under his aegis, renowned figures such as the Athens 2004 Olympic champion, Yandro Quintana, and bronze medalist at the same Games, Iván Fundora, saw success, the latter of whom he shaped from the school divisions on, and is now part of his technical team.

Delgado assumes this new responsibility after completing a work contract in Italy.

Due to the youth of his new athletes, he believes that his best tools are rigor in training and discipline.

“Our main projections for this season are to lay the foundations that allow us to successfully start the present Olympic cycle. The national team has an enrolment of 20 students who have an average age of 19.4 years, a very young team with great prospects.

“We hope for a good performance in the upcoming Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla 2018, and the Pan American Games in Lima 2019, as well as to achieve the qualification of several athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. This campaign - which we describe as the “dead year” within the four-year period - we are going to start deepening work in all technical-tactical aspects,” explained the experienced coach.

How did you receive the news of assuming the training of the women’s national team after Elio Garraway?

It is a new experience that challenges us to continue working to set the bar high in Cuban women’s wrestling. Elio’s work was excellent. It was he who managed to train this generation of novice athletes and what remains for us is to continue the work that he undertook.

Who are the athletes to watch within the national squad?

Our most established fighter is Yaquelín Estornell from Guantánamo, in the 63kg division. We also have Yudaris Sánchez (69kg) from Ciego de Ávila, aged just 20, with very good prospects for this cycle. They are the two main fighters, in addition to everything that we can achieve with others during the present season.

What is the current status of Liset Echevarría (75kg) and Katerine Videaux (69kg)?

Cuba's most promising female wrestler is Yaquelín Estornell (left) from Guantánamo, in the 63kg division. Photo: Prensa Latina

Liset is currently pregnant; it is very difficult for her to continue with us in this Olympic cycle. Regarding Katerine, we are still conducting analysis, because she has an injury to the elbow and will have surgery. For now, the goal is to keep working with these young athletes.

How did you rate the recently concluded National Championship?

It was a competition of great qualitative level, especially with novice competitors, with whom we must work significantly to continue improving the results in women’s wrestling.

You mentioned that the immediate objective is the Junior World Wrestling Championships, in Tampere, Finland, in August?

At this moment our maximum efforts are concentrated on the Junior WorldChampionships, we want these current promising youths to enter the adult category with results in the international arena, so that tomorrow they have created solid bases that allow them to link a series of results at the higher level.