Famed Cuban hurdler Juantorena in IAAF Hall of Fame

[Granma] – DURING the World Gala, the final event of the November 24-25 celebration in Barcelona marking the International Association of Athletics Federation’s 100th anniversary, the 2012 Athletes of the Year were named and the Association’s Hall of Fame was officially opened with 24 initial members.

Jamaican Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix from the United States were recognized as 2012 Athletes of the Year.

IAAF President Lamine Diack, from Senegal, awarded trophies to the 24 athletics legends who were chosen as the first inductees into the Hall of Fame, among them Cuba’s Alberto Juantorena, Montreal 1976 Olympic champion in both the 400 and 800 meters.

“It is a great source of pride on the personal level, but the principal recognition is for my country, for the social system in which I live, which made possible everything I accomplished in sports, and for the thinking of Fidel and Raúl, which has educated all of us,” said Juantorena, now president of Cuba’s Athletics Federation. He continued, “Without the Revolution, without the people’s right to sports, it would have been impossible for me to reach the Athletics Hall of Fame.”

“It is a great honour to be invited by the IAAF to its centenary celebration,” said Cuba’s Ana Fidelia Quirot, two-time world champion in the 800 meters, who attended the historic event. Also in attendance was Javier Sotomayor, world record holder in the high jump (2.45m) and Barcelona 1992 Olympic champion, who said that receiving the IAAF invitation “served as an inspiration to continue working for Cuban athletics.” (SE)

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