A triathlete swims in a tiny above-ground pool on her rooftop, her waist attached to the wall with resistance bands, while a baseball player bats into a car tire and a boxer throw his punches into a bag of rice hanging from a mango tree.
In cash-strapped Cuba, famed for its resourcefulness as well as its sporting prowess, professional athletes are inventing ways to work out and practice despite the closure of common training grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With most on state salaries of less than $40 per month, they cannot afford professional equipment at home. Nor would that be easy to acquire in a country subject to a U.S. trade embargo where the state has a monopoly on imports.
“I’ve had to invent,” said triathlete Leslie Amat, 27, sweating profusely after a full workout on her Havana home’s rooftop that is lined with potted plants.
Using bands attached to the wall, she swims in it every day for thirty minutes. Then she runs on the spot using the same method, before hopping onto her road bike made stationary with a stand that is her one piece of professional equipment.
Amat also created a separate contraption, a wooden board tilted at a 45-degree angle on tubes, to allow her to build up strength in the upper body. She leans against it and pulls herself up and down with straps.