Rwanda could soon benefit from the expertise of amateur boxing superpower Cuba, Times Sport has learnt.
Raba’s technical director Gashugi Kananura yesterday said that the plan is underway to hire a Cuban pugilist coach to train the national boxing team ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.
“We have contacted the Cuban federation through the Cuban embassy to get us a qualified coach,” Gashugi said, adding that the request will be fruitful owing to the good relationship that exits between Rwanda and the Cuban government.
The move to hire a foreign coach comes years after Rwanda’s failure to record any success on the regional, continental and international level respectively.
Should Raba acquire a Cuban Coach, it will be a major boost for the federation to prepare a solid team for the upcoming African and World boxing championships this year as well as the 2012 Olympic Games Africa qualifiers.
Uganda acquired the services of Cuban coach Rodolfo Gonzalez Jimenez last year and the sport has since grown from strength to strength.
In the late 1980s, Uganda got Cuban boxing coach Jimenez Lazaros under this programme.
Lazaros’ stay brought forth talents like flamboyant Godfrey Wakabu who dazzled East, Central and Southern Africa.
In the past 40 years, Cuba has emerged as a surprisingly competitive nation in international sports such as skating, athletics and women’s volleyball (the women’s volleyball team has won 2 of the last 3 Olympic Gold medals).
Cubans have also won gold medals in baseball, boxing, wrestling, judo and various track and field events.
Cuban boxers have done well in international competition since the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.
And it is the sport in which the island has taken home the most medals. Cubans have dominated international amateur boxing, winning more gold medals in men’s competition than anyone else.
In the heavyweight division, Cubans have won 7 of the last 9 gold medals issued at the Olympic Games. Also, out of104 total gold medals issued in men’s boxing at Olympic tournaments since 1972, Cubans have taken home 32 of them (51 total medals).
Between 1974 and 2005, Cubans won 64 of 152 gold medals in World Amateur Boxing competitions.