EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Javelin competitor Yiselena Ballar Rojas has defected from the Cuban team for the 2022 world championships, according to official media on the island.
Play Off and Swing Completo, two portals which publish information on Latin American athletes in the United States, reported this week that Ballar Rojas left the delegation in Miami, a stopover point for the Cuban delegation on the way to Oregon for worlds.
The portal Jit, official media of the National Institute of Sports, & Physical Education of Cuba (INDER), confirmed Ballar Rojas’ decision when it condemned the move in a post Thursday night.
“Given her reprehensible attitude, by which she turns her back on the commitment she made, we confirm the will to strengthen ourselves in the effort to fight for a result worthy of the nobility of the Cuban people that will continue our work in the city of Eugene,” it said in the post.
Ballar Rojas was set to compete in javelin at worlds. Her heat was scheduled for Wednesday.
Ballar Rojas won bronze at the U20 World Cup last year in Nairobi, Kenya. Also in 2021, she earned a silver medal at the Junior Pan American Games in Colombia.
She was included in the Cuban delegation at the last minute after Yorgelis Rodríguez retired from the heptathlon due to a knee injury.
This month, the president of the Cuban Athletics Federation criticized athletes who drop out of Cuban sports teams when they travel abroad, a situation the communist country has faced often.
“I feel sorry for them, because they change their jersey for any monetary reason,” said Alberto Juantorena, who won the 400- and 800-meter races at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
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