Boxing in Cuba
While many people want to study abroad in Cuba, many might be interested in those already studying there; as in what the locals are studying and what their daily lives are like. Some may not know but in Cuba they study sport. Cuba is known for its passion for baseball, but did you know that boxing is also very popular?
In 1959 Fidel Castro banned professional boxing because he wanted to prevent the exploitation of corruption inherent in this activity. In fact, all sports are banned from professional competition, but amateur leagues are allowed. While the nation’s athletes would excel in international boxing awards such as the Olympics; 32 of Cuba’s 65 Olympic gold medals come from boxing, these athletes would have to defect if they wanted to cash in on their talents. In 2013, the ban was lifted from boxing to allow professional boxers join the World Series of Boxing. This means that fighters receive a modest salary and still keep their “amateur” status so that they are able to compete in the Olympics. The ban has not been lifted on any other sport to date.
Here in the United States there are many schools that offer study abroad programs but very few that offer study abroad in Cuba. The training and coaching for every type of school is different and the same is true for schools in Cuba.
A reason for Cuba’s success in boxing may be the contributions of previous champions. Generally speaking, today’s Cuban champions are tomorrow’s trainers, able to pass on their years of experience to younger generations. In Cuba, boxing trainers are also required to have an academic degree that involves 7 years of schooling. The boxers receive world-class training and are well educated. Another reason that Cuba has such well trained athletes is because of the government’s ability to identify and cultivate talent at a young age.
The National Institute of Sport, Physical Education, and Recreation (INDER) was created in 1961 to coordinate national sport and physical education. The INDER created many programs, including the National Institute for Sports Medicine, the National Coaches program, and the National Physical Education Institute. The INDER also created the Escuelas de Iniciacion Deportiva (EIDE) which is implemented in the primary and secondary education system to prepare the youth for sports achievement. Many of the students who excel at a certain sport compete in the Cuban summer Olympics where EIDE scouts the talent and recruits them to a specialized school that caters to just their sport. All nationals have the right to participate in sport for the purposes of recreation, health or high ranked performance; and to education, health and employment. Cuban sport remains grounded in revolutionary values; ones that teach and instill nationalism, honor and respect for their country. PE and sport are integrated and its delivery is closely articulated with health, education, community development, and political and cultural approaches.
If you ever get the chance to study abroad in Cuba just realize that there are students there studying, whether it be music, dance, literature or even sport and they are hoping to get their own chance at studying abroad.
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