Cuba Dissatisfied with Reduction of Categories for Olympic Boxing

The coach of the boxing team Domadores de Cuba, Rolando Acebal, expressed his disagreement about the reduction of the number of weight categories for the World Series and Tokyo-2020 Olympic Games.

In conversation with the international news agency Prensa Latina, Acebal expressed his disagreement and that of the national federation of the discipline, about the new disposition of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), recently announced.

The Cuban coach said that all Cuba wants is for world boxing to increase the number of categories to 11 or 12, instead of decreasing its number, which is now set at eight, with the weight categories of 52, 57, 63, 69, 75, 81, 91 and +91 kilograms.

This measure, in addition to harming Cuba in terms of the chances of medals in summer events, requires the coaching staff to make various strategies to take on future commitments such as the World Series-2019, where Domadores intends to rewin the title and add his fourth crown.

The strategies drawn up by the coaching staff are also intrinsically related to the idea of renewing the national team, as several figures are in their final phase of the cycle, Acebal said.

We are working with young athletes, to gradually renew the team with a view to Tokyo-2020. We have a job perspective with a good future. There are athletes who are in their final phase of the cycle and if they do not defend their position now, they can be replaced, he said.

This argument is based on the need to have men capable of doubling in some categories, as will happen with the 49 and 52 kg since in the Pan-American Games Lima-2019 the competition will take place under the current system of 10 categories.

There will be eight categories for the World Series and Olympic Games and 10 for the Pan-Americans, that is, we have to use a very well-defined strategy to keep the athlete in the different events, he argued.

The technical group has to adjust the strategy, define who can fight in 49 and 52 kg, for example, while Lazaro Alvarez must go down to 57 kg to strengthen that division and Andy Cruz would be in the new 63 kg, for being the absolute owner of the current 64 kg.

For Lima-2019, Acebal said that Cuba's aspirations are to maintain the first position and achieve the highest number of medals in the men's division, although he warned that the tournament will be quite strong because the area has been strengthened in this discipline.

In this regard, he mentioned the squads of the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Brazil, and the United States, as well as the inclusion of professionals in the continental contest.

In general, Cuba will have the disadvantage of not having representatives in the female sector, a policy that is still under analysis by the country's sports management.

The experienced coach assured that they are analyzing the situation and we have the aspiration that the practice and competition of women's boxing in Cuba will be decided in a not too distant future.

Likewise, he said he was quite satisfied with the season that just ended, in addition to stating that Cuban boxing is now projected towards the national championship Playa Giron, in the province of Camagüey, from which the national team to the Pan-American Games Lima-2029 will be formed.

About the imminent prize of the best team of the year of the annual survey of Prensa Latina, Acebal said that Domadores is a team that was imposed worldwide, whose domain was held by the Kazakhs.

In a neutral playground, as we stated, we knew how to impose ourselves in the World Series final with a 7-3 victory against Kazakhstan, so it is well deserved that Domadores de Cuba is the Latin American team, he said.

Domadores was also selected as the Team of the season in Cuba, while its representative Cruz was exalted as the best male athlete of the campaign, in addition to Julio Cesar la Cruz (81 kg) among the 10 most outstanding athletes in the country.

  • Published in Sports

World Ballet Stars to Dance at Havana Festival

Havana.- The Alicia Alonso International Ballet Festival of Havana stands as an exceptional opportunity for ballet lovers from around the world.

As organizer of this festival, Cuba's National Ballet Company (BNC) recently announced that the event will be held from October 28 to November 6.

The upcoming 26th edition will mark the 70 years of BNC founding by Alicia, Fernando and Alberto Alonso, on October 28, 1948.

The festival's program will feature the season marking the 75 years of Alicia Alonso's debut in Giselle, which is expected to be performed by first dancers from Cuba and other countries.

Dancers with the prestigious Cuban Ballet Company will alternate with artists and companies from other countries during the shows. Some of them will premiere pieces in Cuba.

The main venues for the biennial festival will be the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, the Avellaneda and Covarrubias Halls at Teatro Nacional and Mella and Marti Theaters. The Ballet Company of the Grand Theater of Geneva, Switzerland; the National Ballet Company of Prague, Czech Republic; and the Danish Dance Theater of Denmark are among the foreign companies expected to perform in the festival.

Moreover, dancers of the New York City Ballet will bring the show 'Stars of American Ballet,' featuring names such as Daniel Ulbricht, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Sterling Hyltin, Adrian Danchig Waring, Indiana Woodward and Gonzalo García.

HeeSeo, Isabella Boylston, Alban Lendorf and Cory Stearns will come for the American Ballet Theater, while Camila Bocca, Juan Pablo Ledo, Macarena Gimenez and Maximiliano Iglesias will represent the Buenos Aires Colon Ballet Theater of Argentina.

The lead dancer of the New York City Ballet, Spanish Joaquin de Luz, will return to the Cuban festival, while U.S. Rasta Thomas will perform for the first time in the event presided over by Cuban Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso.

Other dancers who have confirmed their attendance are Rainer Krenstetter, of the Miami City Ballet, USA, and Marian Walter, of the Munich Ballet, Germany.

With more than 50 years of history, the International Ballet Festival of Havana favors the exchange between internationally renowned lead dancers, personalities, critics and businesspeople.

In order to honor Alicia Alonso, British choreographer Cathy Marston is preparing a ballet piece inspired by William Shakespeare's The Tempest.

The choreographer will turn the play's original male protagonist, Prosperous, into an equivalent female character to honor Alonso, Cuba's most important ballet dancer and one of the greatest legends of dance in the world.

'Prosperous is a magician that creates everything in that place surrounded by sea, like a small island full of music and dance. I rapidly pictured Alicia, who has created a sort of magic around the BNC and its dancers,' Marston told The Havana Reporter.

Different activities will be held in parallel to the festival such as exhibitions, theoretical conferences, book launch, and film and video seasons.

The Havana festival, which is one of the oldest of its kind in the world, will offer a special choice this time: a course on ballet technique for professionals, teachers and advanced-level students.

The long list of ballet stars who have participated in the Cuban festival includes Russian Maya Plisetskaya, French Sylvie Guillem, Italian Carla Fracci and Alexandra Ferri, Spanish Tamara Rojo and Jose Carlos Martinez, Argentinean Julio Bocca, Maximiliano Guerra and Paloma Herrera and U.S. Cynthia Harvey.

The BNC organizers always insist on turning the festival into a party of choreographic art that claims a phrase by outstanding Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier as its own: 'The spirit of dance is inseparable from the human condition.'

The Cuban Ballet Company has covered the country and Latin America with glory ever since it was founded.

The Cuban Culture Ministry this year issued a decree declaring the company Cultural Heritage of the Nation.

  • Published in Culture

Cuba and Serbia Strengthen Cultural Relations

Serbia and Cuba today expressed their mutual will to strengthen cultural relations at a meeting between officials from that sector in this capital.

Ivana Dedic, an advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Information of Serbia, received the Cuban expert from the Ministry of Culture, Geober Guibert, who is visiting this capital.

The meeting, which was described as fruitful by both parties, was also attended by Cuban Ambassador to Serbia Gustavo Trista del Todo and the head of International Relations at the Serbian ministry, Jagoda Stamenkovic.

The officials reviewed several actions under way in the field of culture, particularly those linked to ballet and cinema. In that framework, they noted the exhibition of Cuban films in Belgrade in October.

They highlighted the two countries' will to promote new initiatives, in addition to acknowledging the convenience of signing a bilateral collaboration agreement to implement cultural projects.

The two officials also underlined the importance of celebrating the 75th anniversary of bilateral relations soon.

  • Published in Cuba

Facebook deletes more ‘inauthentic’ accounts – but stops short of blaming Russia

Facebook has identified and shut down more than two dozen accounts that it claimed were created to exacerbate political tensions in the United States, the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Facebook said the “inauthentic” accounts displayed activity similar to that of accounts the social media giant had earlier linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) — a Russian entity which western media have often linked to Russia’s alleged attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

Facebook, however, admitted in a blog post that it was in the “very early stages” of its investigation and didn’t have “all the facts” about the newly discovered accounts.

Evidence Facebook has is not strong enough to publicly attribute the pages to the IRA, and “it’s possible that a separate actor could be copying their techniques,” the company’s chief security officer Alex Stamos said.

The company said that whoever set up the accounts “went to much greater lengths” to obscure their identities than the IRA had in the past, but also said it found links between some of the new accounts and previous Russia-linked accounts it had disabled last year.

Democrats were quick to jump on the Russia-blaming bandwagon, however, with Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) releasing a statement blaming Moscow for creating the Facebook accounts and suggesting this was “further evidence” that the Kremlin was exploiting platforms like Facebook to “sow division and spread disinformation” in the US. Warner also said he hoped Facebook would continue working to identify “Russian troll activity” on the website.

The news from Facebook comes just days after US President Donald Trump suggested that Russia might interfere in the upcoming midterm elections, but that they would be “pushing very hard for the Democrats” because “no President has been tougher on Russia” than him.

Facebook said it decided to share the information, despite not having all the facts, because there was a “connection” between the pages in question and a number of protests that were planned for Washington, DC next week.

A total of 32 accounts on Facebook and Instagram were suspended. In its blog post, Facebook warned that it faces “determined, well-funded adversaries who will never give up” and who are “constantly changing tactics”.

US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen commended Facebook for its efforts and complimented it for taking the alleged election interference seriously.

  • Published in World
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