UK Seeks Cuban Aid for 2012 Olympics

Campaign News | Wednesday, 23 November 2005

Lord Moynihan in Havana seeking coaching talent

Havana, Nov 22 (Prensa Latina) Lord Colin Moynihan, the Chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA), said in Havana on Tuesday that his country will seek the support of Cuban sports expertise to prepare the UK team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

After meeting with his Cuban counterpart Jose Ramon Fernandez, Moynihan said: "The intention early next year is to sign a new agreement which will lead to exchanges between our two countries in different sports.

I would like it to focus on coaching, on some of the systems for talent identification and the development of sport in the community".

"Because of the strong relationship with Lord (Sebastian) Coe, who has been here with me, and my affection and respect for sport in Cuba, our intention is to make sure that this special relationship is even stronger than ever in the next seven years", added Moynihan, also president of the Cuba initiative in the British Parliament.

Considering impossible to beat sporting powers like China, Russia and the United States, Moynihan believes Britain can improve to the 4th place in the medal tally, but "we first need to identify the potential 5.000 Olympians to have a team of 720 athletes".

In order to achieve that, "we have to focus on coaches. Success should not be built on chance, but on a system to identify the talent".

In April 2003, UK Sport and the Cuban Sports Institute signed a bilateral agreement, which he regards "as particularly important. "There are sports where I believe we can have a very strong cooperation, not least in boxing. There are many others, but boxing in my view is something we can work on very closely together. We already had last year with the Amir Khan-Mario Kindelán fight in the Olympics".

Britain finished 10th and Cuba 11th in the medal tally at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

"Perhaps more important though is the lesson that Cuba has given the world, not just about elite performance, but also about participation in the community and how you have encouraged children to be active in the sports in the community through schools, through clubs."

"I think there is a wider gender of cooperation in that context", Moynihan, an Olympic silver medallist in rowing, stated.

Speaking about preparations for the 2012 Summer Games, he confirmed that "we are ahead of schedule; we are on budget, which is very important."

"Sport -he said- is about men and women. It isn?t just about the Olympic team, of team 2012, as we call it". "It is about encouraging greater participation at all levels in the community and I see the National Olympic Committee helping in that direction, but also building international relations, across the world, and what better in the world to start than in Cuba," Moyniham stressed.

A former Sports Minister, Moyniham was elected as the new BOA Chairman on October 5. He delivered a lectured on Tuesday on how London won the 2012 Olympic Games and the sports policy in the UK, at the Sports Higher Institute in Havana.

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