The Cuban delegation comes in fourth place in medal standings at the Pan American Games in Toronto-- with 27 gold, 21 silver and 30 bronze for a total of 78 medals, but still counting on the performance of its boxers in the finals to overcome Brazil, which is in 3rd place.
The Boxing squad has achieved a perfect performance so far and expects to keep this pace on Friday when five boxers enter the ring in the evening finals.
Let's take a look at what has happened on Thursday and early Friday.
Boxers Yosbany Veitia, in the 52-kilogram division, Lazaro Alvarez (60), Roniel Iglesias (69), Julio Cesar La Cruz (81) and Lenier Pero (+91) won their semifinal bouts on Thursday.
Cuba’s Yarisley Silva produced her best performance in two years with a world-leading and Pan American record 4.85 m to successfully defend her pole vault title on Thursday.
In one of the deepest fields in the athletics tournament, the women’s pole vault featured a mouth-watering final, made up of three global champions: world indoor champion Silva, USA’s Olympic champion Jenn Suhr and 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer of Brazil. Suhr was the first one to end her competition after three failed attempts at 4.65m, having to settle for bronze with 4.60m. Silva and Murer both skipped 4.65m and then cleared 4.70m on their first attempts.
Silva then tied her Games record of 4.75m on her second attempt. With two failures at 4.75m, Murer went for 4.80m and cleared it. Silva also responded on her first attempt to regain the lead.
With the bar at 4.85m, Murer failed three times and Silva cleared it on her third try to emerge victorious over the Brazilian for the second time at the Pan American Games. Winner of the 2007 Games at home in Rio, Murer had to be content with silver again.
Eight finals will be staged on Friday at York University. One of the top attractions include Cuba’s world leader Pedro Pablo Pichardo in the triple jump.
Denia Caballero threw the discus to 65.69 meters to claim the gold medal early Friday. 25-year-old Caballero had produced a personal best throw of 70.65m on June 20 in Bilbao to lead this year’s world standings. Also Cuban Yaime Perez came second with a throw of 64.99 meters.
Boxers Joahnys Argilagos, 49kg division, Andy Cruz (56), Yasnier Toledo (64), Arlen López (75) and Erislandy Savón (91) will go into the ring in the evening finals on Friday.
Pan Am Games: Medical head says eight test positive for doping
The head of the medical commission for the Pan Am Games said there have been eight positive doping tests so far, a figure he puts "in the average range" for what would be expected at the multi-sports event.
Dr. Eduardo De Rose, in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, said games officials would carry out 1,500 urine tests and 400 blood tests on 6,000 athletes before the event ends on Sunday.
"All the conditions here are ideal for the detection of doping in the games," De Rose said. "I would take this number as something acceptable. I would not say we are having too many, or too few. We are exactly in the average range."
De Rose praised the revised doping code published earlier this year by the World Anti-Doping Agency. It allows the targeting of specific banned substances — depending on the sport — and also targeting of specific athletes if there is reason for suspicion.
The Pan American Sports Organization has listed eight positive tests for banned substances.
Three baseball players have tested positive — Nelson Gomez of Puerto Rico, Mario Castillo of the Dominican Republic and Javier Ortiz of Colombia.
Three wrestlers also are on the list — Luz Vazquez of Argentina, who must relinquish a bronze medal, Elverine Jimenez of Nicaragua and Stephanie Bragayrac of Paraguay.
Others who tested positive were Honduran boxer Merin Zalazar and weightlifter Cinthya Dominguez of Mexico.
In addition, Peruvian swimmer Mauricio Fiol has acknowledged he tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid stanozolol.
The Brazilian Olympic Committee also reported that wrestler Patrick Mendes has been notified of a positive test.
Neither has been confirmed by Pan Am Games officials.
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- RHC's Mailbag Show
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- Process of constitutional debates continues throughout Cuba
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