The Guantánamo athlete still has much joy to give to his people and country. Bellow is his statement to IAAF:
“Dear athletics friends,
“Greetings from Cuba. It’s almost all set to start my summer campaign in Europe in June. The wait is almost over. I look forward to returning to competition.
“As many of you know, I could only race once indoors in February, when I sustained a muscle injury. It was then discovered I had flat feet and I am wearing new Adidas spikes.
“We had a very successful two-week camp this month in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where we polished our speed, technical coordination and strength. The conditions there are exceptional for high-performance athletes.
“Apart from my coach, physiotherapist, doctor and psychologist, I was also joined by Dayron Capetillo, Anay Tejeda, Yenima Arencibia and Belkis Milanes.
“The people and authorities in Gayaquil accorded me a special welcome and I felt very motivated to train. They are very nice to us and offered us all the facilities available. I owe part of my success to them.
“My coach and I were also much honoured to meet President Rafael Correa.
“I wanted to compete in front of my home crowd at the Barrientos Memorial in Havana last weekend.
“But my coach reminded me that the technical tune-up is not finished yet. He wants two more weeks as my training started late due the physical problems I had in the winter.
“I have to wear special spikes to avoid pain in my flat feet. Adidas is sending me other pairs to conclude the endurance-rhythm between hurdles.
“If everything goes according to plan, we should start our season in Thessaloniki, Greece, on June 10. I keep good memories of Greece, where I finished third at the 2006 World Cup. I would like to test the Thessaloniki track as it will host the World Athletics Final in September.
“And then the Golden League starts in Berlin on June 14. That’s a very important series and meeting as the German capital will host the World Championships in August.
“The second stop in Oslo, on July 3, coincides with the CAC Championships in Havana. The Cuban Federation will determine which race to attend.
“I plan to do around 10 races before the World Championships, including Ostrava, where I broke the World record last year.
“Just before I travelled to Ecuador, I was very happy to welcome the IAAF and some athletics reporters from Europe and China in Cuba for the project entitled One Day in the Life.
“It was a wonderful experience and I really enjoyed sharing some insights of my athletics career and life with the international media. We spent four days in Havana and the central city of Santa Clara, where I usually do training camp in November-December every year. We didn’t have time to go to my hometown in Guantanamo to meet my family, but they also had a chance to interview Cuban stars like Anier Garcia and Alberto Juantorena and discovered the national sports system based on mass participation.
“We walked through the streets of Havana. I showed them some of my favourite places and took them to my favourite restaurant. The IAAF photographer even stopped the traffic on a busy Havana avenue for a photo. On Mother’s Day, May 10, I called my mom, who lives in Guantanmo, before flying to Ecuador the next day. She is the main inspiration in my career.
“As all athletes, my eyes are also focused on Berlin this year. No Cuban has even won the World outdoor title [in my event]. Anier came close with two silver medals in 1999 and 2001. I will fight for my first World title, but I respect my world class rivals who also train hard.
“That’s all for now. Thanks a lot for your support and I will be in touch again in June after my season’s debut.”