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Aldama wins gold for Britain

Yamile Aldama proudly paraded the British flag after securing a triple-jump gold medal at the world indoor athletics championships. It was a remarkable performance from the 39 year-old whose career has been dogged by traumatic personal difficulties.

Aldama was born in Cuba and competed for the island, winning a world championship silver in 1999. In Havana she met a Scotsman called Andrew Dodds and the couple married and had a child. Shortly after they moved to London to start a new life, Dodds was arrested for his role in a drug-smuggling ring. Aldama’s husband was sentenced to 15 years in prison, leaving her in London with a small baby and unable to spreak English.

Aldama finally got her British passport in 2010 and was welcomed into the British team. Her competitive spirit remained intact and it showed in the final in Istanbul. In the second round she jumped 14.82 metres, the furthest she has managed since 2005.

"I had a little bit of a problem with my hamstring so I had to take the competition round by round," Aldama said. "I think I could have gone further, but I couldn't jump again." She watched her rivals get closer, but nobody could match her winning jump.

"Some people have it easy, some people have it difficult, like I did," she said. "But that's what I had to do and now here I am. It's very difficult to explain my feelings. I am feeling very proud, very happy and I can't wait to get home and celebrate with my family."

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