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Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria, one of the title favorites in the long jump for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, qualified on Saturday without any physical wear at the end of the test, with a first flight of 8.50 metres, which was enough. To seal his ticket and be the best in the round.
No rider has gone that far in the qualifying round, and thus the Camaguey kangaroo has submitted its nomination for Olympic glory, emulating the title won by illustrious compatriot Ivan Pedroso at Sydney 2000.
The current world champion, Jamaican Tagay Gayle, stayed at 8.14 metres, the fourth best time, and is presented as the top contender for the title.
To enter the final it was required to reach 8.15 meters or get one of the top twelve in the qualifying round. Echevarría fully complied with the first requirement and declared his mission accomplished.
His 8.50m run in the Cuban jump is his best mark this season, which has been 8.38m so far.
Echevarria, the almost 23-year-old who has clocked 8.68m as his best since 2018, is facing his first Olympic challenge after appearing in recent years.
In 2019, he was an All-American Champion and won a bronze medal at the World Cup in Doha, in a version he had reached as the best player. A year ago he was the indoor world champion in Birmingham (UK).
– Yaimé OK, Caballero KO –
Echevarría will not be alone in the Olympic final, as he is accompanied by another Cuban, Miguel Masso, who signed the seventh longest distance at around 8.07 meters and also sealed the pass.
Cuba could not make it to third in the final seeded long jump, with Lester Alciedes Lescay Gay reaching only 7.69 and was 24th out of 31 contestants.
Echevarría has been confirmed as Cuba’s main choice for gold at the Tokyo 2020 Athletics Games, along with discus thrower Yaimé Pérez, current world champion who was seeded at the end of her test just a few hours ago.
In contrast, Denia Caballero, world discus thrower in 2015, world silver in 2019 and Olympic bronze in 2016, was eliminated in the qualifying round for her test.
Discobola Villa Clara, 31 years old with a personal best of 70.65 meters, had only a valid throw, which is 57.96 meters, which allowed her to take 23rd place out of 31 riders.
Both the men’s long jump and women’s discus finals will be held on Monday.
On that day, Echvarria might be able to fulfill the dream of hanging himself with a gold medal at the Olympics thus emulating not only Ivan Pedroso but also another legend in athletics history, American Carl Lewis, who tied for four gold medals in a row. In this test between Los Angeles 1984 and Atlanta 1996.
© 2021 AFP
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