Impressive speed, strength, endurance, and competitiveness converge in Yorgelis Rodríguez, to produce performances that today make her the queen of multi-sports athletics in Cuba.
She has just made this clear, taking her place on the podium at the recent World Indoor Athletics Championships, with a bronze medal in the pentathlon, and a taste of glory.
How do you evaluate your performance at the event in Britain?
At first I was a bit nervous, because it was my first indoor competition, my first pentathlon, but little by little I was able to overcome this, impose my determination and attitude, so that things could turn out the best possible.
In four of the five events (800 meter run, 60 meters with hurdles, high jump, and shot put), I improved my personal records. I fell short only in the long jump, with 6.15 meters, when my best was 6.50. Anyway, I'm pleased with the results, since in addition to the bronze medal, this was Cuba's best multi-sport performance in world indoor competitions. I broke the national record with 4,637 points.
Who is Yorgelis Rodríguez?
I'm a young, 23-year-old woman from Guantánamo, born in the municipality of El Salvador. When I was small, I practiced everything: taekwondo, gymnastics… even soccer, but I wasn't very flexible, and then one day, a professor saw me and recruited me to athletics.
I won three medals in the Pioneriles (children's games), before transferring to the Rafael Freyre EIDE (high performance sports school), in Guantánamo, and since then, I've always worked in multi-sports events, considered the most exhausting competitions in athletics.
Tell us about those who have guided your career in sports.
Above all, I owe many thanks to my first trainer Ernesto Pérez, who has followed me since I was a little girl and been like a father to me. Once I was at the EIDE, my teachers Marisol and María, and in the end, everyone who had confidence in my potential as an athlete.
Once I was in Havana, I studied with Gersin Luis Castro, my coach when I won silver and gold medals in the World Juvenile Athletics competition held in Lille, France, in 2011, and in Barcelona, Spain, in 2012. I'm training now with Gabino Arzola, and I've learned a lot. I am very proud to be his student.
Are you expecting a happy ending at the Central American Games in Barranquilla?
We hope so. We just finished a short training cycle with good results, since in addition to raising my spirits and desire to win, this allows us to focus on technical and physical details, between now and July.
What are your best events in the pentathlon?
The high jump and the long jump, although in the latter, I haven't gotten it all together. I think, like my coach says, it's my best event, but I still haven't accomplished what want.
What other areas do you need to improve?
We are working on the hurdles and the jumps, since those are the events in which I can add points, without ignoring the others, such as the shot put, the javelin, and the sprint, in which I can do better as well.