Use pacts to grow sports

The revival of sports cooperation between Kenya and Cuba, which will see some local athletes train in the Caribbean nation ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, has the potential to revive the country’s dwindling fortunes in sports.

On Thursday, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba revived the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Kenya and Cuba in 2018.

As per the agreement, Kenya’s boxing teams, women’s volleyball squad and local sprinters will hold a pre-Olympic Games camps in Havana. Namwamba said the agreement will complement another arrangement between the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) and French authorities for the pre-Olympics training camp in Miramas, southern France.

Whereas Kenya boasts some of the best high-altutude athletics training centres, both Cuba and France have a tradition of exellence in sports and boast robust sporting infrastructure, national sports institutes and academies, as well as high performance centres.

Indeed, Cuba and France athletes have dominated most sporting disciplines alongside those from the United States, Great Britain, Germany and China and have functional sporting systems that draw funding from either the state or the corporate world.

Most countries in Africa, Asia and South America have sought long-lasting partnerships with these countries with a view to unlocking their sporting potential.

Kenya will benefit mainly through technical support in boxing and athletics.

Last year, Kenya benefited from such partnerships in volleyball after the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) struck a partnership with the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), which saw the national women’s volleyball team train under six Brazilian coaches in Nairobi and Brazil.

In April last year, a partnership between Athletics Kenya and Miramas Athletics Club in France saw Kenyan junior sprints and field athletes train in the European nation ahead of the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Colombia. Let’s make full use of these partnerships to grow Kenyan sport.