Sports Ministry Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa has signed a 5-year deal with his Cuban counterpart Dr. Antonio Becali that will see Kenya benefit immensely towards sports development.
According to the contract signed yesterday, both parties will work towards raising the sporting level in both countries under the ‘innovative exchange’ program.
The agreement will implement activities such as organisation of sports programs, access to sporting facilities and equipment. Training and development of coaches and specialists has also been factored in the deal as well as academic exchange. Both countries will together explore issues like ports medicine, community sports and participation in long and middle distance races, doping control, sports management and computer Science applied to sports.
According to the CS Advisor on Communication & Strategy, Isaac Nyangay, other activities will be undertaken as may be agreed. Kenya is renowned global powerhouse in middle and long distance running meaning Cuba stand to benefit immensely from high altitude training programs by the expertise of local coaches and athletes.
Likewise, Kenya stands to benefit from Cuba who have dominated amateur boxing for years on the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) calendar.
Until the 1980s, Kenya was once a power house in boxing with Robert Napunyi Wangila winning the country Africa’s maiden Olympic Games gold and Steve Muchoki winning a World championship gold medal in Belgrade in 1978. But as technology and sports investment took centre stage in global boxing, the country’s fortunes have dwindled.
The introduction of computerised scoring meant a nosedive into the country’s gains in boxing.
Due to historical associations with the United States, many Cubans participate in sports which are popular in North America rather than the traditionally promoted in other Latin American nations. Baseball is by far the most popular other popular sports and past-times include boxing, where Cuba is a dominant force to reckon with.
The partnership will also focus on areas of performing Arts, visual Arts, Music, Heritage, film, cultural information and research.