Cuba's Olympic Committee told media on Wednesday that it was seeking to take back the lead in the region's sport by sending 600 crack athletes to the 20th Central American and Caribbean Games.
"We are pretty advanced in our training, but we are still working on a few details so we can be sure to attend with a delegation that is up to the standards of the Games," Jose Ramon Fernandez, president of the Olympic Committee said.
Cuba did not compete in recent editions of the Games, having refused to attend the 2002 edition in El Salvador, saying their athletes had not been offered appropriate security. Mexico won that edition with 138 gold medals, 112 silver and 102 bronze, followed by Venezuela with 104, 94 and 81; and Colombia with 62, 60 and 55. Before this point Cuba had been top in every Games since 1970.
The Games run from July 15 to July 20, in northern Colombian city Cartagena de las Indias, 250 km from Colombian capital, Bogota.
Cuba said that the island would compete in nearly all disciplines, sending strictly Olympic champions, World champions and Pan-American champions. Registration for the games ends next week.
Fernandez, who is also head of Cuba's council of ministers, said he thought Colombia would put on a good show, saying that he had heard good things about the preparations.
Separately, Mario Granda, head of Havana's Anti-Doping Laboratory said that Games would set up a laboratory in Cartagena to perform some 580 tests.