Mijaín writes a golden chapter in the history of the Pan American Games, with his last performance, and adds to that of the Cuban Revolution in sports
LIMA (August 9) — During the 2018 Central American and Caribbean in Barranquilla, I almost missed seeing Mijaín López compete. He set a record for the shortest time on the mat. I remember that his longest fight lasted 24 seconds. He won the gold medal in 17 seconds.
Taking into account this history, we would have to ask those who on August 8 witnessed his title bout against Venezuelan Moisés Pérez, in the 130 kg division, if they left pleased, or unhappy that the Pinar del Rio giant granted them such limited time to enjoy Greco-Roman wrestling.
This writer, at least, was left wanting to see him in action a bit longer.
Since the 2003 Pan-American in the Dominican Republic to date, the ambassador of these Games and flag bearer of the Cuban delegation has swept the events in Rio de Janeiro 2007, Guadalajara 2011, Toronto 2015 and here. Five fights that left his opponents stunned.
If someone thinks that this unique run in several Olympic cycles is missing some seasoning, remember that along with his five world titles, Mijaín won gold medals in Rio de Janeiro 2016, London 2012, and Beijing 2008, successes that have not in any way affected his good-natured, gentle character, outside of competitive events.
Imposing when he goes out onto the mat, the unstoppable Mijaín came to Lima to write the story of his last participation in the Pan American Games. With this performance, the history of sports in the Cuban Revolution also continues to grow.
“I love my sport, I train with discipline, and these are the reasons that have led to these successes,” said the five-time Pan American champion of Greco-Roman wrestling, Mijaín López, at the end of his fight for the title in the 130 kilograms.
“I have the experience, I am well prepared psychologically and, although we were worried about making the weight, the medal came to set a record in these continental events. At the World Championships, I’m looking to qualify for Tokyo 2020, to win my fourth gold there.”
He said he will compete in the German league and this will help him get in shape, since, “I am going to fight against other men of great quality. It will be a pleasant experience, because already here in Lima, I’m retiring from the Pan-Americans and in Tokyo I will retire from the Olympics. We must make way for young people,” he said.
He dedicated the medal to the people of Cuba, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, and his friends and family who have helped him so much in his sports career.
Greco-Roman wrestler Mijaín López (130 kg) was among the Olympic and world champions from several countries who have caused excitement here, with fans wondering if they would win or not.
In the hotel where part of the press is housed, in the halls, the dining room, even with the police officers guarding different facilities in the vicinity, when people see Cuba on our jackets, they immediately asked us about the giant from Pinar del Rio .
This August 8 was no different, at the entrance to the Callao Sports Center, several volunteers wished us luck in the day’s fights and, of course, the best for the three-time Olympic champion, five times monarch of the world and, for the fifth time, a Pan American gold medalist, in his last foray onto the mat in these Games.
Mijaín came out fast, as always, against Venezuelan Moisés Pérez and pinned him within just two minutes, with a 9-0 score, to make a reality of the safest prediction in the entire Cuban delegation.
As always, proud of his homeland, the champion took a run around the ring waving the flag.