Cuban girls, lastly, in boxing ring

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With a powerful proper jab to the face of her opponent, Elianni Garcia Polledo on Saturday gained the primary official girls’s boxing match in sports-crazed Cuba.

“It is a historic result for Cuban boxing,” mentioned one of many judges over the loudspeaker when saying the “unanimous” resolution for Garcia, from Havana province, over Reynabell Grant, from Guantanamo. Both are 27.

Dressed in purple and shorter, Garcia tirelessly landed highly effective blows with each fingers that hit her opponent’s face, shoulders and stomach a number of instances.

That is, till the decisive blow, within the third spherical, left Grant down for the rely and in the end determined the struggle.

It was the start of the primary official girls’s boxing program, one thing that many ladies and authorities of this sport anticipated in Cuba, an island that boasts 80 world boxing titles and 41 Olympic gold medals in boxing, together with the legendary Teofilo Stevenson.

Finally, Cuban sports activities authorities gave a inexperienced mild for girls on December 5.

“This is a moment that we have been preparing for, for several years,” Alberto Puig de la Barca, president of the Cuban Boxing Federation, advised AFP.

In the tip, there shall be 12 females – two for every division, which would be the pre-selection of the workforce for the Central American video games in San Salvador, in August 2023 and different worldwide occasions.

“She (GarcĂ­a) just kept working on the offensive, looking to shorten the distance,” Raul Fernandez, 55, considered one of her trainers, advised AFP on the finish of the struggle.

Garcia, who says she got here to boxing from athletics, now seems optimistically at her future in boxing.

“I have a bittersweet feeling, because I cannot represent Cuba,” Namibia Flores advised AFP. At 46, she is six years older than the age most on this sport.

But she will be there exterior the ring: “Right now, I am the only trainer and I was one of the first girls who is training since 2006,” she says.

At 70 years outdated and already retired, Nardo Mestre couldn’t miss this second.

He was the coach of Flores and plenty of different ladies for nearly 30 years, when, he remembers, Alcides Sagarra, the daddy of the Cuban Boxing School, arrived one afternoon suggesting they should practice girls.

So “it was never approved. Now it was authorized and I am already retired, but proud because five of the girls that I trained are here today,” he advised AFP.

Cuba has had feminine illustration in all sports activities, together with weightlifting and wrestling, since 2006, however the final bastion of “sports machismo” lengthy was insurmountable: letting girls field.

Women’s boxing is now practiced in 187 of the 202 member nations of the International Boxing Association (IBA).

Women made their debut on the London 2012 Olympic Games, with three divisions.

It has but to be decided if Cuba might be represented by its girls within the subsequent Boxing World Cup in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, subsequent May.