Cuba will this weekend see the 2015 CAMTRI American Cup and Iberoamerican Championships contested in Habana, offering sprint, middle and long distances races for both elite and age group athletes from January 24-25.
While Cuba organized an international triathlon that was sanctioned by ITU in 2006, this race marks the first time American triathletes will compete in the country. Open to athletes of all National Federations, not only Iberoamerican countries, a total of 17 elite and age group athletes from the United States have been cleared to travel to the event making the US team the second largest in attendance.
The athletes will join a short list of less than 250 Americans that have competed in athletic competitions in Cuba since 2007, according to an article from USA Today.
Although Cuba has a team of elite athletes that compete in ITU races, this weekend’s international will serve to boost the sport of triathlon amongst the Cuban population.
“We know hosting international races is an important and effective development tool for the sport, which is the main goal here,” said ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado. “This is a great project, a project of cooperation that is bringing so many different people together. I’m very happy ITU is also involved in supporting the race.”
The triathlon has attracted participation from 25 countries, with Mexico boasting the largest team with more than 100 athletes slated to toe the start line. The races have been organized with cooperation from the Cuban National Federation, ITU, the American Triathlon Confederation (CAMTRI) and its member National Federations.
“It was always clear we wanted to support this event,” said Spanish Federation President José Hidalgo at a press conference announcing the race last year. “We have learned a lot in this cooperation, as countries like Italy and Spain have been working with Cuba to organize the race, and how sport can bring cultures together.”
“Sport is about much more than just competing. It has the ability to transcend prejudice, to move people and build relationships in a pacifistic manner,” said Spanish Director General of Sports Ana Muñoz at the press conference.
Erin Greene, Triathalon.org
January 20, 2015