The mythical Cuban high jumper, Javier Sotomayor, celebrates two important dates this month: his birthday, today October 13 and 19, a moment of exaltation to the Central American Athletics Hall of Fame.
Known in the world of sports as the Prince of the Heights, Sotomayor, officially begins the practice of athletics in his native Limonar, in the western Cuban province of Matanzas and since he was 14 years old he had already exceeded the two-meter mark in that proof.
The tall jumper is the result of the pyramid of high performance in the country with transit through the Sports Initiation Schools in Matanzas and the Athletic Improvement Schools in Havana, before entering the national team.
Under the guidance of Professor José Godoy, Sotomayor stands out internationally and at just 16 years old, he sets the record for the youth world, still in force of 2.33 meters.
Around 1987, he achieved a great result by wearing the gold metal at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis, United States and it exceeds the rod located at the height of 2.32 meters.
In full form he reaches 1988, where the city of Salamanca in Spain welcomes him during an outdoor event and achieves his first global record of 2.43 meters.
Twelve months later, he exceeded the record twice during the Central American Athletics Championships in San Juan Puerto Rico, where he rose to 2.44 meters in the open air and the other time in the Indoor World Championships in Budapest, Hungary with a jump of 2 , 43 meters.
The Barcelona edition in 1992 would immortalize him in the Olympus of champions and the title under the five rings constitutes the best tribute for its coach José Godoy, two years before he died.
He returned to the Spanish city of Salamanca in 1993 and amazed everyone present by imposing the height of 2.45 meters; this brand together with the Olympic title earned him the distinction of Prince of the Heights of Sports.
But not all were relevant triumphs for Sotomayor because after his participation in the Pan-American event in Winnipeg, Canada, he was accused of doping and was suspended for two years from all kinds of competitions of the former International Association of Athletics Federations (AIAF).
Immediately, Sotomayor denounced such inappropriate charges and considered it as an unjustified and flagrant decision towards his person, in his favor he had hundreds of medical checks, all negative and also with more than 300 jumps executed above 2.30 meters.
Knowing the reduction of the sanction to which Sotomayor was subjected in 2001, it was worth him so that he was enabled to participate in the summer event of Sydney-2000, where he reached the silver medal with a record of 2.38 meters.
By 2008, the directors of the North, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association, Nacac, decided by majority vote to include Sotomayor in the region’s hall of fame along with Luis Mariano Delis, Roberto Hernández, Andrés Simón, Martiza Martén, Silvia Costa, Norberto Téllez and the late Cuban athletics historian Basilio Fuentes, as well as the leader Jesús Arguelles.
(With information from PL)