Despite the economic hardships Cuba has endured in the last few decades, they have been able to create excellent world-class sports programs. Unlike most Central American and Caribbean nations, it’s not strange to see Cuban Olympic champions in many different sports. It’s no exaggeration to say that Cuba absolutely dominates the Central American and Caribbean Games every four years. In the last edition of the Pan American games, only the United States, Canada, and Brazil won more medals than them.

One of the sports Cuba excels at is wrestling. In the last World Championship, Cuba placed eighth, taking two gold medals and an additional unofficial one thanks to naturalized Cuban wrestler Frank Chamizo.

This amazing photo essay by photojournalist Alexandre Meneghini shows a rarely seen picture of Cuban athletes, who are most often seen in the in the top of world sports fighting for medals in their Adidas uniforms. The picture shows the old gym and facilities in general, but also manages to capture the enthusiasm, effort, and discipline that serves as base for eventual elite athletes.

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

Photo by Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters