Yoelmis Hernández during a training session at the Cerro Pelado Center. Photo: Dunia Álvarez Palacios Photo: Granma

Yoelmis Hernández Paumier never tires of lifting hundreds of kilograms every day, during training sessions. Over the years he has perfected his routine which, although similar to that of his teammates, continues to serve him well in international competitions at this stage in his life.
Fifteen years ago, the three-time World Championship medalist from the Isle of Youth, joined the ranks of the national weightlifting squad with big dreams, and after achieving several of them, now has great plans for this current Olympic cycle.
“I feel quite good at this stage in my sporting career; I haven’t suffered an injury in a long time. I’m focused on helping the new athletes from the national pre-selection team as they prepare for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla 2018. Next year we are also aiming to qualify for the Pan American Games in Lima, 2019.”
Regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the 85kg weightlifter told Granma that in order to be in, with a chance of not only competing but also achieving good results in the multi-sport event, he is training hard at the Cerro Pelado Higher Training School for High Performance Athletes.
However, Hernández and the rest of his teammates have a long way to go before they make it to the Japanese capital. In just a few weeks, the three-time World Championship medalist, along with Víctor Quiñones (94 kg) and Juan Columbié (105), will represent Cuba at the 2017 IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, USA, starting November 28.
“This will be the sixth World Championship competition of my sporting career. So far training has gone well, with no problems regarding my body weight. No matter what, I’m determined to win my fourth World Championship medal in the clean and jerk.
“I know it’s going to be a tough competition, my opponents have been training hard, but I’m going with the mindset of winning this medal that I want so much.
For the Anaheim competition, the coaches and I are planning to get as close as possible to my best scores.
“The snatch isn’t one of my strongest events, but we will be looking to execute a good strategy that will put me among the top competitors; while I will try and lift as much as possible in the ‘clean and jerk’,” added Hernández, also Pan American champion.
Regarding his weight division, the athlete described it as unpredictable, because sometimes competitors perform badly, and at others the quality surpasses that of other divisions.
“Right now there’s a high level with opponents with strong technique. Kianush Rostami from Iran and Tian Tao from China will be my most difficult opponents, given that they are Río 2016 gold and silver medalists, respectively, which is why I must focus on training,” he stated.
At 31 years of age, Yoelmis Hernández has accumulated a good number of medals in international competitions, most notably three in World Championship tournaments. His silver in Turkey 2010, and two bronzes in France 2011 and Poland 2013, all in the snatch and grab, are proof of his continued high level of performance and make him an authority on the sport and its future prospects in Cuba.
“We have a very young team, but there’s a lot of talent in our ranks. The 2018 Central American Games will be a tough test for Cuban weightlifters, as the event will take place in Colombia, which also has excellent competitors in both the men’s and women’s divisions. But at difficult moments we have been able to respond to the level demanded by this type of competition. The event itself will bring out the best in the youngsters on our team. Trust us, we’re going to try to win the most number of medals possible,” said Yoelmis before resuming his training. (ACN)