Cuban boxers leave Beijing without gold but upbeatAugust 24th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, Aug 24 (DPA) Cuban boxers failed to win a gold medal at an Olympics for the first time in 20 years Sunday, when Carlos Banteaux Suarez lost 18-9 in his welterweight final bout against Kazakhstan’s Bakhyt Sarsekbayev.Earlier, Yankiel Leon Alarcon was outclassed by Badar-Uugan Enkhbat of Mongolia in his bantamweight fight while flyweight Andris Laffita Hernandez and middleweight Emilio Correa Bayeaux lost out in their Saturday finals.
Cuban boxers won five gold medals 2004 in Athens, four each in the previous Olympics in Sydney and Atlanta and seven at Barcelona in 1992, but boycotted the 1988 and 1984 Games.
The poor showing is further evidence that defections are seriously hampering the Communist nation’s boxing team. In the past two years, Cuba has lost five gold-medal winners from its 2004 Athens Olympics team as well as a 2005 World Championship. Four defected are boxing professionally, one was punished for attempting to flee, and another retired.
However, head coach Pedro Roque said the lack of a gold medal was a cyclical thing and his fighters failed due to a lack of experience.
“They came here with no experience and they’ve won eight medals. No gold I know, but nobody was expecting more than one or two medals from us,” he said.
“When boxers like (triple Olympic champion) Teofilo Stevenson used to fight for Cuba, it was completely different because they had a lot of experience in international competitions,” said Roque