Tuesday, April 25, 2006
HAVANA HOSTS THIRD CUBAN OLYMPIAD
The upcoming third Olympiad of Cuban Sports will be a celebration of sports, solidarity and the best of human sentiments.
So far 1,449 athletes from 15 countries have confirmed their participation in the games, and that this figure is likely to increase in the coming days. Several thousand Cuban athletes will aslo participate.
However, the Bushies can't get into the spirit, of course.
In another anti-Cuba action aimed at blocking any possible exchange between the American and Cuban peoples, Washington has denied a US boxing team permission to travel to the island and participate in the island’s Third Olympiad, which kicked off on Monday. A nine-member US boxing team was ready to fly to Cuba to compete in rounds already included on the games’ program; however, US authorities denied the athletes permission to travel
The following comes directly from Granma.
Fidel inaugurates 3rd Cuban Olympiad
PRESIDENT Fidel Castro has opened the 3rd Cuban Sports Olympiad that takes place April 24 to May 6 and, as he put it, will follow the impetus given by the island’s success in the Baseball World Classic.
The leader of the Revolution affirmed that "this modest event" is "taking place after the joy left in the country due to the brilliant performance" of the Cuban team, who won second place in the Classic.
"From today all of you are to be involved in a beautiful fiesta of sports, friendship and solidarity. While violence and unjust wars are expanding, we are here paying tribute to peace, fraternity and the finest values of human beings," Fidel added in an inaugural speech of 20 minutes.
The ceremony in the Havana Sports City Coliseum included a parade by the delegations and a colorful cultural show.
More than 3,000 athletes, of whom 1,400 have arrived from 20 countries, are to compete in 38 disciplines and four exhibitions until May 6, when a giant national simultaneous chess game with 1,000 tables in each of the country’s provinces and the special municipality of the Isle of Youth brings the event to an end.
Fidel assured that the Cuban Olympiad "will combine healthy sports rivalry with scientific, technical and methodological exchanges among the trainers and federations present."
He confirmed that "as a symbol of the noble aspirations of this Olympiad, young students from 40-plus Third World nations being trained in the International Physical Education and Sports School are also to compete."
The Cuban president went on to recall that Cuba recently opened a modern anti-doping lab, which has already done some 8,000 tests and has the backing of the International Olympic Committee. "That is helping us tremendously," he said, "and we are pleased to be able to offer cooperation to sister nations to combat what could be called that other scourge of sports."
He added that a wide-ranging investment program is being developed in the Sports Initiation Schools (EIDE), which will allow for the total reparation of the 15 existing centers – one of them, the José Martí in the capital, has already been restored – and the opening of two new schools, one in Granma and one in Guantánamo, both in eastern Cuba.
"More than 13,000 students in the country’s 169 municipalities will receive the benefits of these works, making it possible to expand from 18 to 29 the sports disciplines to be taught in those schools, the fundamental basis of sports development in our country where, however, sports is developed for everyone, for all young people, for all the population, for all schools and for all cities," Fidel noted.
Osleydis Menéndez, World and Olympic javelin champion, a specialty in which she has the world record, read out the athletes’ oath.
The boxing line-ups in Habana promise to be high quality with representatives from China, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, all interested in measuring up to the island’s World and Olympic champions.
U.S. GOVERNMENT DENIES VISAS TO ITS BOXERS
The U.S. government has refused travel permits to its boxing team, whose members were hoping to compete in the 3rd Cuban Olympiad, according to Sarbelio Fuentes, chief trainer of the island’s national selection.
"We have just received the news that the U.S. selection of nine boxers has not received authorization to compete in our Olympiad," said Fuentes, as AFP reports.
Cuba is to compete with its Olympic and World champions in disciplines such as athletics, diving, judo and wrestling. Baseball is not to have its own tournament because the dates coincide with the final phase of the National Series.
The participating countries are the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guadalupe, Guatemala, India, the Virgin Islands, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Russia, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and Cuba.
The first edition of the Cuban Olympiad was in December 2002, after the island authorities decided to withdraw athletes from the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador when the government of that country was unable to guarantee the island delegation’s security.