Cuban Hurdler Ortega Flees His Country

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The Cuban athletics federation says hurdler Orlando Ortega has not returned to the country after competing in the world championships in Russia last week.

The federation said in a statement Wednesday that Ortega "abandoned" the Cuban delegation that competed in Moscow.

The Cuban Embassy has appeared to confirm his disappearance, and his current whereabouts remain unknown.

The Russian athletic federation soon after announced that they will not naturalize deserted athlete

“We are not is not interested in Ortega’s services as an athlete,” Valentin Balakhnichev told R-Sport.

“I have no information about the location of Ortega, as we haven’t received any requests from him. It was his decision to leave his team and he didn’t return to his homeland and it will weigh upon his conscience.”


The 22-year-old Ortega did not make it past the first qualifying race in the 110 hurdles in Russia, finishing only sixth in his heat with a time of 13.69 seconds.

Considered one of Cuba's best hurdlers since Dayron Robles, Ortega was sixth at the 2012 London Olympics and had the third-best time of the season heading into Moscow.

Ortega ran in the worlds after the Cuban federation dismissed a six-month indiscipline ban handed to him for refusing to compete in an event in Moscow in June.

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