Cuba is a sporting nation whose achievements far surpass what one would expect based on the size of the island nation and its economy. Cuba has for years competed in several sports at the top international level and often dominated or at least brought home a few medals.
The secret of Cuba’s success must be partly attributed to the socialist government of Cuba who have invested heavily in the promotion of sports in Cuba.
Today, millions of young people in Cuba actively participate in amateur sports which means when it comes to selecting for the national sports teams, the sports officials in Cuba have a wider pool from which to choose. Below are just a few of the sports in which Cuba has excelled over the years.
Baseball in Cuba
Baseball is considered to be the national sport of Cuba, and the sport which most ordinary Cubans are passionate about. Cuba has a long history of playing this sport on the island which goes back to the 19th century.
The national baseball team of Cuba is easily the best in Latin America and often dominates regional competitions in this sport. The national baseball league in Cuba is also well developed providing plenty of opportunity for players of this sport to improve their skills at the highest national levels in Cuba.
Every province in Cuba has its own baseball team while Havana has two and Isla de la Juventad has another. This means there are a total of 16 baseball teams in the national baseball league. The sports season begins in early autumn and culminates with national finals in May.
The sporting league is similar to the basketball league in the US where the best of the Eastern conference meets the best of the Western conference in the finals which are played as the best of a series of seven games.
Boxing in Cuba
Boxing is the sport that Cuba has enjoyed the most success in on the international stage. Every four years Cuba comes home from the Olympics with a few medals in this sport. Cuba practically dominates the world amateur boxing championships winning gold medals in almost all weight divisions.
Because all sports in Cuba are operated on an amateur basis, Cuban boxers do not participate in lucrative professional boxing bouts. To date Cuba have won a total of 25 gold Olympic or world championship medals in this sport and look set to continue to be a leader in this sport for years to come.
Athletics in Cuba
Cuba also has a great history in athletics or track and field. The first Olympic success in this sport by Cuba came in 1964 in Toyko when Enrique Figuerola won silver in the Men’s 100 metre sprint.
Cuba continued to provide top contributors to this sport in the international arena, with the likes of Alberto Juantorena Danger dominating this sport in Cuba during the 1970’s. In addition to setting two new world records, he won gold for Cuba at Montreal in 1976 in the 400m and 800m. In the 1990’s, there were three names that came to the forefront of this sport in Cuba.
They are, Iván Pedroso, Ana Fidelia Quiroz and Javier Sotomayor. These three athletes have all won honours for Cuba in their respective sporting events at various international Sporting competitions.