They Almost Quenched the Spark in Arencibia

They Almost Quenched the Spark in Arencibia
Fecha de publicación: 
26 June 2022
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An interview made by Ronald Suárez Rivas with Juan Carlos Arencibia from Pinar del Río, the current spark of Vegueros team according to the journalist, reveals that they almost turned off that spark when, despite showing talent, the then twelve-year-old baseball player suffered a severe blow to his dreams because "he was not chosen due to his short stature to go to the Sports Initiation School", as it is said in this text published in Granma on April 16th this year.

It is not the first nor the last event that punishes the democratic Cuban sports movement, on the minor leagues and at the top. Because of those, the press has published that children like Maradona and Messi, due to their physique, if they were to be directed by some "myopic" coaches, they would not have a place in teams, schools, tournaments... Sad examples abound:

Ana Fidelia was called la Gordita and some wanted to eliminate her from the athletic contest. Roberto Balado was another chubby athlete in whom they did not believe, and he had to earn his place among the greats by sheer will, courage, dedication and even sneaking into the so-called boxers' farm. And what about Alfredo Despaigne? If the coaches from Granma do not save him, after the refusal of the center from Santiago, we would have been left without his home runs.

María Caridad did not have a happy welcome either when she arrived in the capital, and it was not long before they returned her without the javelin in her hand to Barracos, to see if she was any good in table tennis, her initial discipline. She was too skinny to succeed as a thrower, according to some scholars. Juantorena had been excluded for low technical quality in basketball, where he had mistakenly put. He was rescued by athletics, for sports, for his happiness, by the coaches Cheo Salazar and Eneas Muñoz who discovered in him the qualities of a runner.

 Orlando Martínez and Teófilo Stevenson did not excite everyone initially; doubts were plentiful around. Chervonenko's vision helped clear them. The work of both as well. Nor was it all smiles because of his rare fighting style, although effective, Alfredo Duvergel, the Octopus: Olympic silver, World gold. More recent: there was no unanimous confidence to include boxer Rosniel Iglesias in our delegation to Tokyo 2021. They tried to remove Serguei Torres from the canoe due to his "descent". If these misguided ideas prevail, we would lose two golden medals.

I go back to Arencibia. He was not taken aback by that injustice. He dedicated himself to studying. In his heart, of course, the desire to compete were huge. But "... it would not be after completing the Bachelor of Physical Culture that he would think seriously as an athlete again," says Ronald, who does not conceal the failure of his interviewee to debut in the National Baseball Series 51.

This shortstop, now 36 years old, did not give up. He trained more and better. He managed to return in the 55th Series and, as the reporter puts it: “Since then he has become the owner of the shortstop in Vegueros team, with increasingly solid numbers and a very peculiar style of play, which has earned him the sympathy of fans".

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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