Cuban Athletes Welcomed Home from Pan Am Games

The last group of the Cuban delegation at the XVII Pan American Games, led by Antonio Becali, President of the Cuban Sports Institute (INDER), arrived home the night of July 27, flying in to Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport. They were met at the foot of the aircraft steps by José Ramón Fernández, President of the Cuban Olympic Committee and Osvaldo Vento, who was Acting President of INDER in Cuba during the Games.

Inside the terminal, Fernández addressed the group to express gratitude to them on behalf of the Cuban people.

Fernández, who is also an advisor to the President of the Council of State and Ministers said, “You are patriots. You fought for medals and victories as all of Cuba watched, and for that they now welcome you back with pride for all your effort and the will that allowed you to accomplish what you did.”

“We know how difficult things were at various times, and how much you had to overcome in the work that you did,” he added. He reminded the athletes that their achievements took place on historic days when important events were taking place in Cuba such as the 10th Congress of the Union of Communist Youth and the celebrations of the 62nd anniversary of the assault on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes barracks.

Flag-bearer Mijaín López and heptathlete Yorgelis Rodríguez, winners of two of Cuba’s 41 gold medals, were the first to descend from the plane carrying the banner. They were followed by their compatriots from the boxing, track and field and other teams as well as coaches, medical personnel and other support workers.

Rodríguez, who won Cuba’s last gold medal of the Games gave thanks for the support received. Seeing how much the level of competition has gone up on the continent, “forces us to redouble our efforts to improve our results in the future,” she said.

Like the members of the delegation who returned earlier, they were presented with Cuba’s Seal of Dignity, signifying fidelity, a spirit of defending the homeland, loyalty to the Party, the people and the revolution, and above all, the will to win.