Sports

Legendary Cuban judo coach Ronaldo Veitía dies

Ronaldo Veitia Valdiviea prestigious former Cuban judo coach, died this Monday in Havana at the age of 75 while he was admitted to the Hermanos Ameijeiras Clinical Surgical Hospital, due to complications that deteriorated his health after stroke who suffered in August.

“The beloved professor Ronaldo Veitía Valdivié has passed away. His contribution to the greatness of Cuban women’s judo assures him a place of honor in the history of our sport”The president of the National Sports Institute (INDER), Osvaldo C. Vento Montiller, reported on Twitter.

In recent days, the state of health of the prominent former coach -who arrived in Cuba in October from Spain– had deteriorated, which is why he had to be hospitalized, as indicated HIT. The same source points out that the complications associated with his diabetes and the high cardiovascular risk marked his severity until the fatal outcome.

World-renowned coach, under his command the Cuban judokas obtained since the 90s of the last century twenty Olympic medals and more than 50 in world championships.

Born in Havana on October 21, 1947, Ronaldo Veitía began his career as a judoka at the age of 15. However, although he was a national champion in the 93-kilogram division and several times a Pan American medalist, His results as an athlete were not as relevant as his later work as a teacher and coach.

Since the end of the sixties he began teaching and in 1986 he was promoted to head coach of the women’s national judo team. “El Gordo” -as he was nicknamed due to his great physical corpulence- was the head coach of the women’s judo team for over 30 years.

His main triumphs include 24 medals in Olympic Games, five gold, nine silver and 10 bronze; including the country crown in Sydney 2000.

His record includes, among others, the world championship in Japan 1995 and Egypt (2008); the highest place in the youth world championship in Dijon, France (1990) and all the titles in the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata (1995). Veitía and his judokas also won the crown in the team world tournament in Minsk, Belarus (1998).

Considered one of the best in the world in his disciplinewas the teacher of athletes such as the four-time Olympic and eight-time world champion Idalys Ortiz and the stars Estela Rodríguez, Legna Verdecia, Amarilis Savón, Daima Beltrán, Driulis González, Odalys Revé and Yurisleidis Lupetey.

Among his contributions is the adaptation of load in training, the plank exercise and the inclusion of weights, the latter that Veitía applied with medical monitoring and scientific methods in the preparation.

Under his direction, in 1989 Estela Rodríguez was crowned in Belgrade as the first Cuban judoka to win a world championship.

Another important milestone took place just three years later, when Odalys Revé won a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Among the multiple recognitions received in his sporting career, there is his induction into the International Judo Federation Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Order of Sports Merit.

He also received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa in Physical Culture Sciences from the University of Matanzas, and that of Cuba’s Labor Hero, among other recognitions.

Veitía had retired in 2014 and traveled frequently to the city of Alicante, in Valencia, Spain, where one of his sons resides and where in August of this year he suffered a stroke that marked his physical deterioration.

When he got sick, Veitía he remained admitted to a Spanish hospital for more than two months before deciding to return to Cuba to continue his recovery.

The death of Ronaldo Veitía has been followed with numerous expressions of condolences in the last few hours.

“With deep sadness, we regret the sensitive death of our beloved teacher, Mr. Ronaldo Veitía Valdivié, former coach of the Cuban National Team. On behalf of the Pan American Judo Confederation, its president, Mr. Carlos Zegarra, the Board of Directors and Pan American Judo, we send our condolences to their family, friends and Cuban judo,” the Pan American Judo Confederation wrote on its social networks. .

(Source: Capture of Facebook / Pan American Judo Confederation)

“My condolences to family, friends and the Cuban sports movement. Veitía leaves us forever pleasant memories of the continuous and emotional victories of Cuban women’s judo. May his school never die,” he posted on Twitter Miguel Diaz-Canel.

The voluntary return to Cuba of Ronaldo Veitía was not without controversy. At the beginning of November, the sports journalist Julita Osendi denounced that the former Cuban coach He was at home with hardly any rehabilitation.

Days later, the National Institute of Sports Medicine of Cuba assured that they had “designed a strategy to monitor and accompany” the recovery process of Ronaldo Veitía, thus denying that the former coach had been abandoned to his fatealthough the entity did not offer further details on the steps of the recovery strategy.

Last August Ronaldo Veitía, who was in Spain with his son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren, suffered a stroke that led him to be admitted to a hospital in the Valencian province of Alicante. Two months later, after overcoming the initial severity, the former coach expressed his desire to return to Cuba. In October he arrived in his country with his son, on a trip paid for by INDER.

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