Fiji, Cuba Sign MOU On Sports Cooperation

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Cuba to assist Fiji with scholarships, training, facilities

By Leone Cabenatabua

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Sun, Oct. 6, 2012) – Fiji has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote co-operation on physical education and sports development with Cuba in Havana yesterday.

Head of Fiji’s delegation, Minister for Youth and Sports, Commander Viliame Naupoto signed the historical agreement with the National Institute for Sports, Physical Education and Recreation president of the Republic of Cuba Christian Jimenez Molina.

The agreement now allows Cuba and Fiji to assist each other in the exchange of sporting delegations, expert coaches and specialists in the field of physical education, sports development and sports science.

Boxing Commission of Fiji director Malakai Veisamasama said the agreement allows Cuba to assist Fiji in things like scholarship programmes, high performance and training programmes for athletes, sports facilities and equipments, formation and upgrading of coaches and specialists.

"We will also offer Fiji the best in sports science, sports management and programme management," Molina told Naupoto after the signing ceremony.

In addition, Molina said Cuba will share disciplines that have contributed to their success at the world and Olympic level.

"These are things like sports management and leadership, anti-doping control, information technology in sports. Most importantly, technical assistance and attachment programme in amateur boxing."

Molina added that Cuba has just started a rugby sevens programme in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio."

"For that we will look to the expert assistance from Fiji, as we realised that your national team are world beaters."

Naupoto said boxing and other sports in Fiji are now heading towards exciting times.

"The ball is now in the sporting federations’ court and that is to take advantage of the Government initiative and work towards the next Olympic Games in Rio. It’s time to take advantage of Cuba’s offer to assist us. Cuba is recognised in the highest level in international sports and the opportunities available are for our sporting federations to grab it with both hands," he said.

The Cuban Sports Business general manager Carlos Rodriquez Acosta also added that it was only logical at this stage to work with elite and semi-elite athletes first as we aim for Rio and expand that further to the younger athletes.

To mark Cuba solidarity and seriousness in assisting Fiji, yesterday’s MOU signing was witnessed by past and present Cuban sporting legends like Maria C. Colon who was Cuba’s first women Olympic gold medallist in javelin in the 1980, Lazaro Betancourt, a triple jumper and 110 hurdler in the pre and post Cuban revolution in 1959, a boxing legend and gold medallist in three World Boxing championship in the 81 kg class Paulo Romero Ernades and the silver medallist in pole vault Yarisley Silva from the recent London Olympic Games, leaving Russian world champion, Yelena Isinbayeva with the bronze medal.

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