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Interview with Dr. Antonio Becali Garrido, president of INDER, looking toward the Río de Janeiro Olympics

27 de julio de 2016 - Taken from Granma

On July 25, following the departure of a good part of the Cuban delegation to the Río de Janeiro Olympic Games, Dr. Antonio Becali Garrido, president of the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (Inder) and head of the Cuban delegation to the international event, spoke with Granma.

How is the Cuban delegation arriving to these Games as compared to the previous edition? Could you explain the main differences between the two…

Let me start by saying every scenario is different, and what happened four years ago confirmed Cuba’s global positioning. That is why doing better in Río de Janeiro is an important goal, which we have been working toward by developing the potential of our human resources to the maximum, who represent the greatest resource for our sporting movement, which lacks the vast economic support enjoyed by the major sporting powers.

Thus we have been working on perfecting methodologies, up-dating our knowledge, collaborating closely with scientists and researchers, analyzing opponents, statistics and resource management, which our country endeavors to provide us, conscious of what sport represents to millions of our citizens.

In short, rather than talking about differences I should point our that we have undertaken actions which we deem vital in the current context, and highlight the unrelenting work of athletes, coaches, medics, physiotherapists, psychologists and other experts.
Relatively speaking Cuba could do better in these Olympics than the most recent edition of the Pan American Games. How is this possible, if the Olympics are a bigger event that the Pan American Games?
It’s about the specifics of every event, which all demand different results to secure important positionings, and the results of a single sport or just a few competitors can have an important impact on overall outcomes in the Olympic Games.

Hence the importance of having 120 athletes competing in 18 sports, without disregarding the fact that we are stronger in some disciplines than others. We know that this constitutes an example of a strong all-round delegation, which many other countries lack.

Remember that despite an increasingly rigorous qualifying process, which implies greater costs, given a rise in the number of qualifying events, the majority of which are held outside of the Americas, we have more athletes and are competing in a greater number of events than in London 2012.

Although it’s true that our fourth place spot in Toronto 2015 left a lot to be desired, we are also certain that we gave it our all, an attitude we are taking with us to Río de Janeiro.

If I were to ask you to choose thee qualities which best sum-up the Cuban delegation’s preparation process, what would they be? And how would you describe the island’s sporting movement in the current international context, and what efforts are being undertaken to ensure that the country continues to be a global sporting power-house?

Our efforts have, above all, been characterized by the concept of teamwork, of opening spaces to all essential alliances and thinking about the importance of differentiated training based on the specific characteristics and potential of each athlete.

Another important element has been the participation of commissions and technical teams who use available resources - in accordance with our competitive and economic possibilities – to help athletes qualify for largest number of spots possible.

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