Cuba’s delegation to the V Parapan American Games in Toronto returned home proud of its accomplishments. “The Cuban people and their sports movement are pleased with what you did, with the patriotism, dignity and love with which you defended the flag of the homeland,” said José Ramón Fernández, President of the Cuban Olympic Committee upon their return.
Ramón Fernández pointed out that the members of the Cuban team consistently fulfilled their duty in Canada and made their mark with unforgettable moments. With slightly more than 50 competitors the Cubans won 19 gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze medals to earn sixth place overall.
“The rank obtained is important, as is the fact of having competed. But most important of all is having represented our people and doing so with honour, dignity and courage,” said Ramón Fernández.
He further congratulated the athletes, “for dedicating your best efforts to representing our people well,” and thanked “those who made this possible: those who wrote the pages of Cuba’s history and all those who gave their blood for it to exist with the achievements that we can claim today.”
“We are grateful for your loyalty to the homeland and revolutionary firmness. That is the first medal of honour and dignity you bring,” Ramón Fernández told the delegation.
“In the name of the Cuban Olympic Committee, especially on behalf of all the leaders of the sports movement and of our country, thank you. Long live Cuba, free forever! Long live our revolutionary sports movement and our dignity as patriots!” the President of the Olympic Committee concluded.
Lorenzo Pérez, winner of two golds and a silver in swimming and a world record in the 100 metre freestyle, spoke for the delegation. He was accompanied by Omara Durand, a track and field multiple medal winner and world record holder.
“We return home with the satisfaction of having done our duty and prouder still of being Cuban. Representing our people will always be a commitment we will assume with the courage it warrants,” Pérez said with emotion.
Pérez expressed gratitude to the Revolution and to Fidel and Raúl for supporting and promoting the Cuban sports movement and for the attention given to those with disabilities.
“We will not betray their confidence or the confidence of the heroic Cuban people. We will prepare with greater enthusiasm to rise to the challenge at next year’s Rio de Janiero Paralympic Games,” Pérez told JIT. Pérez said he is hoping to be the first Cuban swimmer to win Paralympic gold when he competes in Rio.
Health specialist Ileana Villaverde delivered greetings to the group on behalf of the Cuban Association for Persons with Physical and Motor Limitations (ACLIFIM), National Association for Deaf Persons (ANSOC) and National Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ANCI) as well as the ministries of Health, Labour and Social Security.
Daniel Baz, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, directors of the National Sports Institute (INDER) and other well-known athletes took part in welcoming the Parapan Am athletes. They presented the Seal of Dignity to the athletes, coaches and support personnel for their fidelity to the people, the Party, their Revolution and the enduring spirit of victory.