En este momento estás viendo Omara Durand: «I can’t leave that image in my people»
Omara Durand Elias, of Cuba, competes in the 100m T12 semifinal in athletics at the VII Parapan American Games Santiago 2023, hosted by the Mario Recordón Athletic Center, on November 23, 2023 in Ñuñoa, Santiago, Chile. PHOTOGRAPH: Calixto N. Llanes/Periódico JIT (Cuba)

Omara Durand: «I can’t leave that image in my people»

The multiple Parapan American champion expressed her sadness with those who await her triumphs, after her disqualification in the 400 meters category T12 in Santiago 2023

The information spread from mouth to mouth, in a low voice, as if it were a matter of the utmost seriousness. And it was… Omara Durand did not appear on the official lists as the winner of the previous event on the track.

A few minutes before she had entered first in the 400-meter T12 category with that exuberant distance over her rivals, the same as her 13 gold medals in the Parapan American Games, the same that does not surprise anyone.

Omara has the alchemist’s formula to turn everything that flows into gold. That is why it was surprising that she was not the winner, so much so that stupor invaded those in the know like a pandemic of absurdity that spread quickly.

Soon everyone was talking about rule 7.9.5 and its interpretations, the one that concerns assistance to athletes. She went from an insignificant mamotreto postulate to the most acclaimed and studied. That is also generated by Omara: news.

More valid claims occurred to support the champion than to cause the officials to change the ruling. The final verdict was filled with bigger adjectives the narrower the stretch in which Durand let go of her guide to enter the finish line with open arms and celebrate what no one else achieved in her category.

The news of the disqualification devastated everyone, but her more so, without consolation and the center of controversy and disappointment. «I feel enormous sadness with the people of Cuba. «People follow me and wait for my career to enjoy it,» she responded about the event hours later when she should have been celebrating her birthday.

If you listen to the finality of the decision, if you tear at the rough skin of legality, the verdict seems cruel and exaggerated. However, justice is not given to evaluations rather than to facts.

«The saddest thing of all is that I ran, that they saw me, that people enjoyed it and suddenly they say on the news that they disqualified me. «I feel very sorry about that,» she says, flooded by cyclothymia resulting from the events.

She draws her attention to her responsibility because she is not selfish, she is not moved by the vanity of numbers, nor does she need the complacent statistic of a medal because she has so many that she could distribute: Omara is hurt by the people of her.

«The effort, the sacrifices, and the results have led me to that, I know what it means to the people of Cuba, to my family, to the country. Everyone trusts me and suddenly this happens, it is not the same as having beaten me, having taken a lead, having stepped on a line, but not like that… », she claims, still in the grip of emotion and anguish.

Then she recovers from the sentimental abyss that floods her because she understands more than many about improvement. «I cannot leave that image in mind, this is going to happen because my greatest effort is to arrive in the best shape for the world competition in Japan and then to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. I promised Yuniol and Miriam, my coach, that that would never happen again. «I have felt the greatest sadness of my entire career,» she says with the shame and courage with which she assumes any responsibility.

The tears of her guidance and hers will stop flowing. It will happen in Japan and Paris when she enters the goal loaded with the honor of fair play, invested with dignity and shame.

Then she will be able to dedicate it, as she wanted this time, to what she called «the greatest man in the terrestrial world,» Fidel. That day in Paris, the last of her career, she will go hand in hand with Yuniol Kindelán until the end.

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