Indian sports trainers get Cuban exposure

Thursday, January 20, 2011

HAVANA - A delegation of 55 Indian coaches from various disciplines is on a trip to Cuba to explore ways to enhance performance of Indian sportsmen as Indian boxers trained by a Cuban coach did very well in recent international events.

Coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez, who has been with the Indian boxers since the early 90s, has played a crucial role in the success of Indian boxers at the recent Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. Vijender Singh also became the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal (bronze) under Fernandez’s coaching stint.

At the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, Indian boxers won four bronze medals and three gold while in the Asian Games in China, seven boxers made it to the semi-finals.

The delegation of Indian coaches divided into two groups - one for high performance coaches and the other to spread sports at the community level - will stay for six weeks in Cuba in order to learn tricks and find ways how to make India a sports power, a Cuban government statement quoted by the Prensa Latina news agency said.

Acknowledging Indian boxers talent, the statement said: “India is already becoming a boxing power to reckon with thanks to the contribution of the Cuban boxing coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez and a region in Haryana has been nicknamed the “Little Cuba” because of the important pool of boxers coming from that area.”

As part of an agreement signed between the two countries to facilitate such exchange programmes, a team of sports experts from Cuba visited India two years ago so as to find ways to improve results of Cuban sportsmen in Indian context.

Both the countries had signed an agreement for sports cooperation in 2007 when Mani Shankar Aiyar was India’s sports minister.

Filed under: Boxing

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