"I was on the verge of depression when I arrived"
The Hispanic-Cuban hurdler Orlando Ortega has explained that when he arrived in Spain six years ago he became “on the brink of depression”, but that based on effort he managed to improve his personal and professional situation until his great success in the Rio Games, where he was proclaimed Olympic runner-up, a success that will try to match at least next summer in Tokyo.
“I left Cuba and arrived in a new country where I didn't know practically anyone, I had nothing. I became on the verge of depression, I stopped to think if I had made a good decision, I didn't think I would have made it. But I sat down and said to myself: 'You are here, now just forward, the next step is to do it well and I will do it well because I have sacrificed myself, I will continue training even harder and when I go out to compete, I will fight for my dreams' ”, recalled Ortega in an interview to the official website of the RFEA that collects Europa Press.
To that positive evolution also collaborated "a very special person", his girlfriend. “It helped me a lot in that aspect, because I was a very negative person. He told me: ‘Why won't you do it? You can't collapse because the first day things don't go away. Don't stop until you achieve your goal. If I had been a more negative person, after what happened to me in Belgrade I would have finished with athletics. But I told myself that there was no need to give up. There are other goals and other dreams, ”he reflected.
Ortega referred to what happened in 2017 at the Edesturopeo final on the Belgrade indoor track, where a stumble with the penultimate fence made him fall to seventh position. Overcome that disappointment, now closes a great 2019 where highlights the bronze in the Doha World Cup, where only the push of the Jamaican Omar McLeod prevented him from aspiring to more.
“There have been 13 victories of 14 or 15 races plus those of winter, which were another 11 of 12. In short, I think the season has been spectacular. If it didn't happen because of the incident, anything would have happened. I could have run below 13:10, ”he recalled about that World Cup final.
The 2020 Objective
Looking ahead to 2020, the Artemis athlete stressed that "obviously the Olympic Games are the best and most important" that all athletes have ahead, but added that the Diamond League is also "very excited". “For me it's the main competition, I like it and it's the one that motivates me the most. Every time I have a career in the Diamond League it is as if the spark ignited, I want to be there and do my best, ”he said.
Asking if he prefers wins or marks, the hurdler opted for the former. “We train all year to lower my personal brand, but I don't become obsessed with the times because the national record is made. I want to improve every day, but I don't lose my mind either. What I like most is to improve in the face of competitions; My motivation is that, to win as much as possible, ”he explained.