Havana, Aug 13.- Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro was always a loyal follower of sports, a man capable of structuring a system that turned Cuba into a global sports power.
Since the triumph of the Revolution, on January 1, 1959, Fidel understood that mass physical activity was an urgent step to achieve better results in international events and promote the health of the island's citizens.
One of his goals was to bring the healthy practice of sports to every part of the country and establish a model known as a high-performance pyramid.
Just one fact should be taken into account: before 1959, only 0.25 percent of the Cuban population participated in sports activities and the achievements were concentrated -essentially- in baseball and boxing, according to data from the time.
Little more than 60 years later, the picture looks different and Cub is located in seat 16 in the historical medal table of the Olympic Games, with 78 gold, 68 silver and 80 bronze medals.
Such a feat is possible because sheltered by the thought of Fidel, adults and the elderly found a way of life in the exercises, and this collective practice made of Cuba a reference in this area. .
Specific decisions marked this journey full of successes, although not without bitter moments. For example, on February 23, 1961 the Cuban Institute of Sports was created, protected by Law 936, which laid the foundations for a better future and later organized fundamental programs such as the National School Games.
Thus, the Revolution became a starting shot for the birth of spaces for the recruitment of talents, the opening of Sports Initiation schools and centers for the training of coaches, among other initiatives.
These projects quickly bore fruit and already in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Panama in 1970, Cuba reached the top of the standings, while placing second at the continental level in the 1971 Cali event.
Although not with the strength of the good old days, Cuba today shines on the sports scene. Cuban sport has a name: Fidel Castro, the mastermind of a true masterpiece. (Text and photo: PL)