Rafael Fortún Chacón.
By :Leonel of the Val Sordo
Today the Cubans, and especially the people of Camagüey, remembers in the anniversary 91 of his birthday to an excellent figure of the national and continental athletics who was able to be erected as the absolute owner of the short distances in America between 1946 and 1954: Rafael Fortún Chacón.
Of small wanted to be a boxer but his mother opposed herself; with the result that enrumb his vocation toward the athletics, first for the jump of height, until definitively opted for the speed, in the one that found the glory and some that another displeasure like corridor of 100 and 200 plane meters.
The hints were him more attractive and were good him to be the only champion triple of the hectometer in Central American Games and of the Caribbean. Fortún also had participation in the Olympic Games of London, in 1948, and in Helsinki four years later, contests in those that arrived to semifinals.
One of his team partners commented: “... he had for more, but the hunger, the misery, were his main competitors...”
His national record in the hectometer fixed in 10.3 seconds remained effective during one decade (1950-1960), as long as that of the 200 meters (21.2 seconds) reigned fourteen years!, from 1951 up to 1965, until another extraclass, Enrique Figuerola, was able to improve them.
Rafael Fortún was the first champion double in the Pan-American history when being imposed in the 100 and 200 plane meters in the hemispheric appointment of Buenos Aires in 1951; in those games conquered, also, silver medal in the short relief.
And go prize to the return to the Homeland for the “Guinean Fortún”-as told him -, had been dismissed, without work to stay. Time later, the bitterness persisted when being outside of the Olympic Games of Melbourne, Australia, in 1956.
Pity that the governments before 1959 didn't worry about the sport; pity that the Revolution had not triumphed before 1959.
The victory of January arrived when the racing car of Camagüey had already left the hints; in an occasion commenting about the retirement expressed: “... one knows that he has to arrive, until he gets ready, but nobody resigns...”
This Thursday August 5 had celebrated his birthday 91 the outstanding sprinter of Camagüey, that black one poor that always preferred the affection of his town, the one that never wanted to compete against Cuba.
Today the Cuban athletics honors with the homonymous National Championship of Speed that is made in its native city Camagüey, and the sport in general with the name of one of the biggest rooms in the country: the polivalente Rafael Fortún Chacón.
Let us toast then for this legend, with the hope that his stock multiplies in the champion futures that so much awaits the liking when of electrizant careers in the hint is.