TORONTO, July 15 (Reuters) - Four members of the Cuban rowing team have defected from the Pan American Games and travelled to the United States, according to a report on Wednesday.
Two of the rowers dropped out before the regatta began on Saturday while the other two competed in earlier races and then withdrew, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported.
According to the CBC, Leosmel Ramos, Wilber Turro, Manuel Suarez and Orlando Sotolongo are the athletes who defected.
Sotolongo won a silver medal in the men's quadruple sculls event on Tuesday.
The rowing venue at the Pan Am Games, a quadrennial multi-sport event featuring countries from across Latin America, South America, the Caribbean and North America, is a short distance from the U.S. border.
A spokesman from the Cuban delegation had no comment.
Citizen and Immigration Canada said it is unable to comment on U.S. immigration policies and asylum claims. U.S. Immigration did not immediately reply when asked for comment.
Over the last week, two Cuban soccer players deserted their team during the Gold Cup, a soccer competition being played in the United States to determine the regional champion for North America, Central American and the Caribbean.
Cuba have also lost many baseball prospects and top players who fled their country to seek contracts with U.S.-based Major League Baseball clubs.
Cuba's relationship with the United Sates has thawed and earlier this month the countries formally agreed to restore diplomatic ties as of July 20, fulfilling a pledge made in December. (Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)