An art instructor turned sports teacher promotes the practice of archery from the community of Meneses, located in the northern Sancti Spiritus municipality of Yaguajay
From the beginning I gave myself the task of learning about archery, knowing everything essential to be able to teach it, says Yuneimy. (Photos: Roberto Morejón).
Yuneimy Suárez dreamed of teaching art without suspecting that his teaching gift would be used to direct his life towards sports.
When he had the opportunity to take a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Culture, he didn’t think too much about it and he says it was a step in the right direction.
Ten years after that twist in the script, archery and the children he teaches are an inseparable part of his daily life. In the Sancti Spiritus town of Meneses, she not only works as a teacher, because from her hands come the bows that are stretched by those infants who dream of an Olympic medal.
Yuneimy is a reference at the Héroes de Yaguajay primary school.
Yuneimy is a reference at the Héroes de Yaguajay primary school. There he taught rhythmic and aerobic gymnastics, disciplines closer to the dance that was part of his previous training. However, the attraction for targets and arrows proved stronger and became a kind of romance that endures to this day.
Since 2015, he assumed the responsibility of teaching that sport and found support in those who had walked that path. The teachers of the provincial Eide expanded their knowledge as part of their specialization in a modality that is uncommon on the Island.
«From the beginning I gave myself the task of learning about archery, knowing everything essential to be able to teach it. Also to undertake the construction of some implements that would allow me to teach children from an early age,” says Yuneimy, who works with students from third to sixth grades.
This year it has an enrollment of 30 children, of which 10 are classified as perspectives. From Monday to Saturday they focus their attention on an area surrounding the school where there are regulatory measures for the pioneer category (15 to 20 meters).
In the current course there is an enrollment of 30 children, of them 10 classified as perspectives.
«This sport is made difficult by the equipment required. We cannot access the officers, so the idea has been to replace them in the best possible way. We look for alternatives with güira and bamboo woods. This is how we made the first arches. I made the ropes with pita thread and twine, and the arrows with bamboo and other types of wood,” he explains when remembering the initial steps.
At one point in the conversation, without intending to, Yuneimy began to speak in the plural… She was referring to her husband Rolexys Hernández, with whom she shares the passion for this work.
They are both teachers and form a completely sporting family with their little Stéfani, already a provincial champion in this sport they love.
«She is now in sixth grade, but since she was little she came with us and saw us working. One day she asked us to train and she has had good results at the provincial level,” she adds with evident pride as a mother and teacher.
The children Diana Carla Vidal, Andry Zurita and Alex Alberto Betancourt remain attentive to the conversation. They are part of the fourth generation of students in the archery area of this town, medalists in municipal and provincial events, and aspiring to reach the national teams.
«It is also difficult to get targets and butts, that is why we manufacture them. We join cardboard boxes and form the size we need, we draw the colors of the target with the official measurements,” she resumes the thread of dialogue, focused on not losing details of what happens in her community.
Yuneimy: It is difficult to get targets and butts, that’s why we make them.
Over time everything has been perfected. Together with her Rolexys husband, she looks for alternatives so that every day the implements they manufacture have higher quality. To do this, they have the collaboration and support of their students’ families, as well as friends, even when their children are not part of the enrollment.
«Alejandra Morera and Roger González were my first athletes. They became national school champions and their families have been unconditional. They helped us from the beginning and continue to do so,” she gratefully mentions.
«I would also have to recognize the Eide teachers, Aliesky the youth academy instructor, the provincial and national commissioners, wonderful people committed to this sport and to all of us who want it to continue growing. We have always received their support », he insists.
Yuneimy is aware that without the support of so many they would not have been able to achieve everything proposed. “Archery in Cuba feels like a big family,” he says.
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