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Cuban coaches come to lift T&T athletes
T&T yesterday signed an agreement for 10 Cuban coaches to work here for the next two years to improve the performance and maximize athlete/coach development. The agreement was signed at a press conference at the Ministry of Sport’s Office on Abercombry Street, Port of Spain. The expertise is part of a bilateral agreement between the Ministry of Sport and Cuba’s National Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Recreation (Cuba Deportes). Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Ashwin Creed, and Cuban Ambassador, Humberto Rivero Rosario signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries. Minister of Sport, Anil Roberts, Special Advisor to the T&T Boxing Board, Boxu Potts, President of the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA), Ephraim Serrette and coaches from various sporting disciplines were among guests to witness the signing.
The coaches who will bring expertise in seven sporting disciplines are: Ramón D Laferté Chávez (basketball), Ramos Montalvo (boxing), Eddy Suárez Edua (boxing), Gato Moya Idalmi (indoor volleyball), Jorge Suarez Condis (beach volleyball), Jesús R. Chávez Ramírez (judo), Orlando Ortega Hechavarría (athletics-hurdles and sprints), Ihosvany Robles Cruzata (athletics-jumps and sprints) and Magdoni Martén Marén (athletics-heptathlon and hurdles) Over $3.1 million has been invested in the agreement to cover airfare and ground transportation, accommodation, meals, monthly allowance and medical insurance for all nine coaches over the two year period. Cuban coaches have been employed in T&T since 2000 and have assisted local athletes and coaches at all levels. Minister Roberts shared some of his experiences as a coach and gave some insight as to why the Cuban coaches can bring a lot to T&T.
“I have had extensive experience and competition with Cuban coaches in swimming. I have seen them work and I understand their inspiration, understanding and soundness in sports science, physiologically and psychologically.” Roberts noted that former Cuban president, Fidel Castro, provided his country good health, education and sport, which he said were the three major initiatives needed to foster development in any country. “He (Castro) realized to help his people he needed to provide them with three major initiatives of health, education and sport. He did not just build mega facilities like Tarouba. He educated all his people, his coaches in every area of Cuba so the grassroots coaches will have the ability to find talent. You must balance education, intellect with performance.” Roberts recalled an experience he had as a 12-year-old at the 1982 CAC games hosted by Cuba. He said Castro arrived for the 400m freestyle to see one of his Cuban swimmers, in lane eight, win the race. On the introduction of the Cuban, Castro stood up and clapped three times. The Cuban swam one of his fastest times to qualify for the final. The Cuban then went on to place second in the final with a time of 4:04:62 and immediately on touching the wall, he went under the water totally unconscious.
Roberts said coaches should be able to inspire their athletes in the way Castro did to that swimmer. “This happens when your mind does what your body not supposed to do, and this is what coaching is about. It’s not about physiologically preparing the athlete but getting them in their ideal performance state,” Roberts added. “The key to coaching is science, education, intuition, creativity, trial and error. We can build facilities...but if we don’t have the coaches to go with it, we wasting money it’s best we build hospitals.” Roberts ended by thanking the Cuban ambassador for his help and understanding and partnership with T&T.
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