NOC-K seek to revive Kenya-Cuba sports partnership

NOC-K officials meet Cuban ambassador

National Olympics Committee of Kenya President Paul Tergat (second right) with Secretary General Francis Mutuku (right) present a Memorabilia to Cuban ambassador Juan Manuel Rodriguez Vazquez (second left) and Head of Consular Office Irasema Moret Acosta at NOC-K offices in Nairobi on October 07, 2022

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Tergat announced that a Memorandum of Understanding will be drafted and signed within one week to kick-start the process
  • Tergat noted that Cuba has one of the most developed and robust junior development programs that has produced fine sportsmen and women
  • Tergat said Kenya and Cuba might have signed a sports exchange programme that would have seen Kenyan coaches, medics and managers benefit from Havana experts in 2018 but it wasn't actualised

There is hope that sports partnership between Kenya and Cuba will be restored after the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) president Paul Tergat and Cuban Ambassador to Kenya Juan Vazquez met Friday in Nairobi.

Tergat announced that a Memorandum of Understanding will be drafted and signed within one week to kick-start the process. 

“Talks have already started and we are working together with the Cuban government to see what will be our short and long term needs for the two countries,” said Tergat, adding that Kenya will be looking forward for enormous technical support from Cuba with the 2024 Paris Olympics and 2026 Dakar Youth Olympics in mind.

Tergat noted that Cuba has one of the most developed and robust junior development programs that has produced fine sportsmen and women.

Tergat explained  that their main area of focus will be boxing and athletics, especially sprints even though they hope for quality exchange programs in basketball, baseball, cricket, wrestling and beach volleyball.

“Cuba is all time second best in boxing performance at the Olympics, an area we partnered some years back,” noted Tergat after receiving Vazquez, who had paid him a courtesy call at NOC-K offices, Gallant House.

Cuba is placed second in all- time medal standing in boxing at the Summer Olympics behind the United States of America with 78 medals; 41 gold, 19 silver and 18 bronze (41-19-18). USA has 117 (50-27-40).

Virtually half of Cuba’s gold medals from Summer Olympics are drawn from boxing. They are placed 18th in the all-time Summer Olympic medals standings with 235 (84-69-82).     

Tergat explained that besides receiving technical expertise from Cuba, they also hope Kenyans will get to attend the National Institute of Sports Medicine and National Institute of Sports Physical Education and Recreation of Cuba (INDER).

“The two institutes are some of the best in the world. They also have the best programs for juniors to the Olympics, something we must have the urge to replicate,” said Tergat, who was accompanied by first deputy president Shadrack Maluki, second deputy president Waithaka Kioni and secretary general Francis Mutuku.

Tergat said Kenya and Cuba might have signed a sports exchange programme that would have seen Kenyan coaches, medics and managers benefit from Havana experts in 2018 but it wasn't actualised.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries was signed on the outskirts of Havana at INDER by Kenya’s former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and INDER President Antonio Eduardo Becali Garrido.

Tergat said that sports have become dynamic and scientific hence such partnerships ought to be encouraged if the country is to remain a powerhouse.

Vazquez said he is happy that they have made the first step towards sports cooperation between the two countries. “Kenya has the potential to do well in sports and the signing of the memorandum will jump start everything,” said Vazquez.

Kenya and Cuba have had a partnership in boxing,which saw Kenyan boxers and boxing coaches train in Cuba. The last of the flights was in 20004 when Suleiman Bilali and David Munyasuia trained in Havana.

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