One of Cuba’s top athletes defects in Paris on his way to the Budapest World Athletic Championship in Hungary

Yasmani Fernandez, one of Cuba’s top athletes in the hammer throw, defected from the communist Castro dictatorship during a layover in Paris, France on his way to Hungary for the Budapest World Athletic Championship. Suarez joins dozens of other Cuban athletes who have escaped the Castro regime’s chains of slavery this year.

Via CubaNet (my translation):

Cuban hammer throw competitor Yasmani Fernandez defects during the World Athletic Championship

Cuban hammer throw athlete Yasmani Fernández has left the island’s delegation participating in the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, scheduled to take place from September 19 to 27.

The news was confirmed this Wednesday by Play-Off Magazine. The publication states Fernández had been included in the delegation at the last minute, which now consists of only 20 athletes.

The news had been previously reported by the newspaper Jit. The state-run media outlet stated that Fernández “left” the delegation during their layover in Paris, France. According to the sport’s national commissioner, Rolando Charroo, the rest of the selected athletes are “focused” on achieving their best results.

Fernández, who is 28-years-old, had achieved his personal best mark (75.74 meters) at the previous José Barrientos Memorial, held at the Pan American Stadium in Havana.

His position in the world rankings earned him a last-minute spot on the Cuban team, but he didn’t hesitate to leave before arriving in Hungary.

Upon arrival in Budapest, the Cuban team gathered at the Danube Arena Hotel. Two groups came together there: one from Havana and another from the Spanish town of Guadalajara, where they had been undergoing “preparation for several weeks.”

Cuba is attending the World Athletics Championships in Budapest without major stars and with a cautious forecast. The greatest medal hopes rest on the triple jumpers Lázaro Martínez and Cristian Nápoles among the men, as well as Leyanis Pérez and Liadagmis Povea among the women.

Athletics has been one of the sectors most affected by the departure of prominent figures in recent years. During the 2022 World Championships held in Oregon, three members of the Cuban delegation left the team: javelin thrower Yiselena Ballar, discus thrower Yaimé Pérez, and physiotherapist Carlos González Morales.

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