Cuba will host the second edition of the Habana ITU Long Distance Triathlon Series and the Iberoamerican Championships on 13-14 February 2016, an event that will serve as a continued promotion for the sport of triathlon in the country.
Present at the official presentation of the competition in Havana (Habana in Spanish) was ITU President, Marisol Casado, who was able to see first-hand how Cuba ‘is doing great things to grow triathlon and organize more events.’
“Cuban triathletes must have a high level race in their country, so they can be more motivated and inspired to have the best triathletes of the world competing here,” Casado said.
The Cuban Federation has been working with other Federations, such as the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, in order to spur development of the sport in the country. Cuban coaches, athletes and technical officials have also received assistance from ITU programmes to improve their skills and capacities, and they have set up a High Performance Training Centre in Habana to work with local triathletes.
This year, Cuban athletes Leslie Amat Alvarez, Lizandra Hernandez and Michel Gonzalez were selected to participate as a part of Team ITU at the Huatulco World Cup, where ITU provided an expert coach to the team, as well as assisted in offsetting costs for participants.
“At this year’s race, more than 20 attended the ITU Technical Officials Level 1 Course,” said Cuba’s Rolando Herrera. “They are again ready to make next year’s event a top level, highly organized and fair international event.”
The Federación Cubana de Triatlón has the goal to host one of ITU’s premier racing circuit events in the near future, “which will be an honour for the National Federation, and a great catalyst for triathlon growth in Cuba,” stated Alejandro Puerto, Cuban Triathlon Federation President.
The Havana race is seen as a positive step to make that goal a reality. The first edition of the event was held last year, and was punctuated by USA Triathlon sending athletes to Cuba for the first time to participate in the event.
February’s races, which already have more than 380 triathletes from more than 30 different countries registered, will give ranking points for Rio 2016, and will be held in the Marina Hemingway, one of the most iconic sites in Havana.