Hockey stick
Cuba were left ashamed after a number of players defected to the USA during the 2015 Pan American Games.Reuters (Representational Image)

Athletes participating in the ongoing 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, come with the hope of winning that prestigious medal, but some of the Cuban players have an ulterior motive – to defect to the US.

The same has been witnessed of late, as half of Cuban field hockey team players defected to the US, which led to an embarrassing situation for the national side, as they did not even have 11 players to field during a match.

As a result, Cuba lost their game against Trinidad & Tobago, which scored 13 goals. The game was completely one-sided as the players were left covering various positions on the pitch, which was almost impossible.

Playing eight against eleven is practically an impossible task irrespective of the players at one's disposal.

AFP sources said eight out of the 16 players have left the squad, but team member Roger Aguilera said it was seven. "Everyone knows what happened to our team, we have seven of them in the United States," AFP quoted Aguilera as saying.

This should not come as a huge surprise as such incidents have happened in the past, where Cuban athletes have disappeared mid-way in the other competitions as well.

Earlier in the 2015 Pan American Games, four Cuban rowers "defected to the US," deserting their country. The 1999 edition of the mega event also saw some Cuban athletes turn their back on their country.

The US government efforts to improve relations between the two countries is not working even after President Barack Obama stated that the US and Cuba will open diplomatic ties.

The Cuban officials are aware of the trend, but are still not able to put an end to it despite providing them with better salaries and facilities. Most of these athletes defect to the US with a hope of getting permanent residency after a year or so as the economic situation in Cuba is not in a good state.

Quick Links