Serguey Torres, one of Cuba’s canoeing stars. Photo: Ricardo López Hevia

HAVANA.— Obtaining eight gold medals in canoeing events is the aim of the Cuban delegation set to participate in the Central American and Caribbean Games, July 19 through August 3, in the Colombian city of Barranquilla.

Cuban athletes will compete in all ten events of this year’s edition of the Games, following the elimination of the women’s K-4 and C-2 events from the program.

Alejandro Hamze, national canoeing commissioner, explained to reporters that the events were cancelled due to the lack of registration, since the regulations require the presence of athletes from at least five countries.

In the Canoe Sprint K-1 200 meters (kayak single) and 500m, Cuba is in line for a possible silver medal, given the strength of Colombia and Mexico, respectively, in these two events. Cuba, Colombia and Mexico are the three top nations among the nine countries that will participate in the canoeing events, with a program of 44 competitions.

Hamze stressed that as part of the athletes’ preparation, the entire team will travel to Mexico, to undertake training at high altitudes.

Fernando Dayán Jorge and Serguey Torres stand out as the athletes with the best chances of a medal on the team. They are also looking ahead to the Canoe Sprint World Championships to be held in Portugal in August, and will attend a training camp in Poland following their return from Barranquilla.

The Barranquilla delegation includes Fernando Dayán in the C-1 1,000m event; Dayán and Serguey in the C-2 1,000m; Reinier Torres in the K-1 1,000m ; Fidel Vargas and Reinier Torres in the K-2 1,000m ; Vargas, Renier Mora, R. Torres and Robert Benítez in the K-4 1,000m; and Vargas in the K-1 200m.

Representing Cuba in the women’s events will be Yurieni Guerra in the K-1 500m; Guerra and Elda la O in the K-2; Maivyhanet Borges in the C-1 1,000m; and Guerra in the K-1 200m.

Hamze emphasized recent results in world events, such as the first stop of the Canoe Sprint World Cup, held in Szeged, Hungary, where the duo Serguey and Fernando took the gold for the 1,000m canoe double, while Fernando also took the gold in the 5,000m canoe single event.

The two Cubans took silver in the double event at the second stop of the World Cup, held in the German city of Duisburg; while Fernando repeated his gold win in the C-1 5,000m, and Serguey took silver.