Yipsi Moreno and the force of women in Cuban sports

Yipsi Moreno, Cuban athlete and member of parliament

In the run up to celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March) the press and media in Cuba has been interviewing and paying tribute to the many Cuban women who have managed to win the hearts of the island’s people with their charisma, dedication and achievements.

Women have managed to make people dream, enjoy and suffer with their triumphs and defeats. One of them is the current national athletics commissioner, Yipsi Moreno González.

The three-time world champion of the hammer throwing, Olympic silver medalist in Athens 2004 and gold medallist in Beijing 2008 made a space in her busy work schedule to talk about her daily life.

When asked how she managed to lead such an intense life full of responsibilities, she replied smiling that it was difficult, but that it was beautiful and that it had led her to growth, emancipation and strength.

She pointed out that her to gain her achievements, she has depended on being surrounded by family, friends and a husband who accompanies her in her dreams, with whom she has co-responsibility in raising her son without traces of machismo.

One of this woman’s many talents is to give many things to Cuban sport, adapting to each situation. The Pan American titleholder in Guadalajara 2011 in the hammer throw is an example of that force behind the screams [while throwing] and incredible throws during her active career.

“I had to learn how to do those screams, because it is a way to expel stress, all the pressure in events as dynamic as mine,” she added.

“Those screams were necessary and I loved them. There I could be me, it freed me and I could apply what many call anti-stress therapy, but I was sad to see myself later in the recordings. Those blows to the chest, the words that came out! ” she recalled.

Moreno declared that she loves peace and tranquility, that she likes to make people smile, transmit positive energy. There is the contradiction between the athlete that we saw on the television screen, so active, and what she really prefers for her private life.

One of her greatest challenges as an athlete and as a national commissioner has been adapting to the rigours of life away from her family and her hard training. “It was a challenge, but when you know what you want, you can win and the result is satisfying,” she said.

The worst of all the challenges that she has overcome as a manager has been machismo. “More than a boss I must be a leader, and for this the first thing is to always be available and feel responsible for all the staff you work with. And you also have to make sure the family is part of those tasks, ”she stressed.

“It has fallen to me to be the first woman director of Cuban athletics. I have had to lead people who themselves have many achievements, even those who actually contributed to my own education and training ”, she added.

“It is complicated to make these people see you as a manager, especially men, it is the most difficult part, but not impossible,” she said, referring to the still prevailing machismo in sports.

By being a Deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power (Member of Parliament), she shows that the female athlete is an essential link in the political and social activity of the country.

“It is an honor to be part of the strategy and the projection of the country. I learn a lot, I feel useful, it is a way to contribute to the Cuban Revolution. I feel honoured and there I have met wonderful women who have been great examples of leadership”, said Moreno.

An impressive speaker, always ready to offer statements with kindness and ease, Yipsi Moreno, is an example of the great contribution of Cuban women to sport.

Link to original report by Radiococo in Spanish