The battered Spanish launch sector could soon be happy with the nationalization of Yulenmis Aguilar, a 26-year-old Cuban who, until two years ago, still held the sub-20 world record for the discipline with 63.86m. They have had to spend up to seven years, mistreatment, injuries, a semi-retirement, a change of country, an entire odyssey until she has surpassed this mark. It happened at the last Spanish Championship in Nerja at the end of June, where Aguilar competed out of competition and won with 64.17m, a record with which she would have been world runner-up in Eugene and that would be a record for Spain.
On the other end of the phone, Aguilar tells his story: “I stood out a lot throwing the ball and at 13 they put me in the javelin. The results came out since I was little, I won in all the minor categories. In 2012, at the age of 16, she entered the national team in Havana, and the following year I was runner-up in the junior world championship in Donetsk. That season was very good but I didn’t expect so much.”
And yet, in Cuba, patience with young people is scarce. “As soon as you have good results they treat you as if you were absolute. The demand with young people is very high. We make crazy marks, but that doesn’t mean that our body and mind are ready to go to the World Cup and win a medal. They demand more of us than we can and we get injured, is what has happened with Jordan [Díaz] and with many others. I suffered one injury after another: elbow, shoulder, back…I went to the Rio Olympics with a broken ankle [y claro, cayó en la calificación con 54 metros] fractured,” he says.
Aguilar spent 2017 without leaving Cuba and in 2018 they took him to the Central American and Caribbean Games that were held in Barranquilla (Colombia). The Cuban authorities demanded that he win, and he could only achieve the bronze with 55.60m. “Since it didn’t come out, they took me out of the selection. They called me and told me that they did not count on me for the next season and I decided to leave it. And that my coach, Héctor Luis Duarte, knew how to get along with me and did things for my age, but in Cuba the federations rule more.”
Therefore, it is not surprising that his country of origin has returned empty-handed for the first time from the World Cup in Eugene. “This has been going on for many years. Cuba has been going downhill and collapse has come. Things have to improve, look for better conditions for athletes in an economic sense, accommodation, food,” he laments, without wanting to go deeper.
Almost two years away from athletics
Because Yulemnis is already looking to the future. Between June 2019 and March 2021, he did not compete even once. He worked in a gym, did some maintenance activity, the bare minimum. He came to gain up to 77kg, too much for his 1.69m, until he got serious about eating and has taken off 10. On December 29, 2020, in the middle of a harsh winter for a Caribbean woman, she settled in Spain with a visa to study to work that would allow her to stay until 2024. “Y coming to Spain was the best decision of my lifeOn an economic level, I had better offers in Mexico or Japan, but on a sporting level, nothing beat training with Raimundo [Fernández]his resume says it all,” he explains.
Some of the best Spanish javelin throwers have passed through Raimundo Fernández, 75, Julián Sotelo, Gustavo Dacal, Marta Míguez and other outstanding throwers such as the Olympic discus thrower Ángeles Barreiro or the hammer thrower Dolores Pedrares. “The Cubans always had a very good relationship with him because of the A Coruña rally. It was a mutual recommendation, they put us in contact. It has completely changed everything for me, even the grip of the javelin, which is the most basic, the whole technical concept. In Cuba I worked a lot with weights and here I don’t even touch themI rely more on explosive strength, on being faster and more coordinated and managing my body much more” says Yulenmis Aguilar.
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The pitcher lives and trains in Oleiros, 12 kilometers from A Coruña, where he works training children for an hour and a half in the afternoons to clear his head of discipline. He came to the capital to study INEF, although now he has parked it. “We have decided to leave it until 2024 for dedicate myself 100% to sport and look for the great result of my life in the Olympic Games in Paris“, Explain.
A fast-track nationalization
To compete in Paris, and even in the World Cup in Budapest next year, You need the government to grant you nationality by naturalization letterthe rapid and discretionary formula provided for those cases that are considered to be of national interest. This is how triple jumper Jordan Díaz has become Spanish in recent months or the basketball player Lorenzo Brown. Yulemnis Aguilar has a lawyer working and at the moment the papers are on the table of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), which will have to request a report from the RFEA confirming the sports interest to take it to the Council of Ministers. And he has it in a country where only two throwers, the now-retired Mercedes Chilla (27 times) and Lidia Parada (once) have gone over 60 meters.
Aguilar has not worn the Cuban shirt since that competition in Barranquilla in 2018, so After more than three years without competing for any country, she hopes that this will work in her favor so that World Athletics allows her to compete as a Spaniard in the big competitions once you have your passport, since you are over 20 years old and have a genuine relationship with the new territory. “This country deserves that I compete for it because they opened the doors for me“, asks Yulenmis, who also needs nationality to obtain a sports scholarship. “For all institutions I am Galician, but until I am Spanish I cannot receive anything, and I understand it,” he explains.
Yulenmis, who defines herself as “very demanding and disciplined, because when you’re not motivated you have to be to continue training” he competes in Spain for the Valencia Club Atletismo, which he helped win the Iberdrola League, and his brand in Nerja has opened the doors for him to major rallies. Last Saturday he was in the Silesian Diamond League, and it didn’t go well (54.01m), but he got an autograph from the world record holder Barbara Spotakova, on Monday he won the prestigious Szekesfehervar test of the Continental Tour with 61.99m. This Wednesday, in Monaco, she finished 5th against the best in the world with 60.40m.
How far can you go? “I am not talking about meters. The results are showing the good physical level that I have and the stability in my marks [9 competiciones por encima de 60m este año] that give me security. Paris 2024 is the big dream”
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