Sport And Third World – Cuba And Laos

Laos, a predominantly Buddhist country, has been a new Socialist Republic since 1975. Laos, best known as Lao People`s Democratic Republic, is a country of ancient culture, history, traditions and beautiful historic buildings. Its fertile fields and tropical forest cover an area bigger than Utah and Florida. But the sport has not grown in popularity.Certainly, the olympic sport in Laos is a chaos. There are not stadiums, sportswomen, pool swimming and sporting projects.

In 1980 Thipsamay Chantaphone had finished lost in the 20-kilometer at the Moscow Olympic Games. For the first time, Laos sent an olympic team to compete in the Summer Olympic Games. Different from Alberto Juantorena (track and field: 400 and 800 mts), Maria Caridad Colon Ruenes (track and field:javelin thower) and Roberto Urrutia (weightlifting), Chantaphone did not go to the USSR, Bulgaria and East Germany.The story is the same. Like all the others socialist countries in Asia and Africa, Laosian sport had not support from the USSR.

Between 1960 and 1991, there were more than 20 socialists nations in the Third World: Afghanistan (1979-1989), Angola (1979-1991), Benin (1974-1991), Cambodia (1975-1989), Congo (1969-1989), Ethiopia (1974-1991), Ghana (1961-1966), Guinea (1960-1991), Guinea Bissau (1974-1991), Grenada (1979-1983), Madagascar (1975-1991), Mali (1962-1991), Mozambique (1977-1989), Mongolia (1950-1990), Somalia (1970-1977), South Yemen (1970-1990) and Zimbabwe (1980-1989).

Different from Cuba, the sporting system was a disaster in the Third World Socialist States, for example 17 countries did not win an olympic medal. Angola made its debut at the 1980 Olympics Games in the Soviet Union.Only North Korea qualified for FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, Guinea sent 3 athletes to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Between 1962 and 1990, Cuba depend on aid from the Soviet World. Different from Laos, Tanzania, Seychelles, the USSR provided massive financial aid for human development and anti-poverty programs. Much of aid was used in the Cuban sport.Cuba received more money per capita to promote sport than Brazil ,Taiwan and South Korea.

Moscow played a fundamental role in the Cuba`s rapid sporting development.Furthermore, the Kremlin and East Germany helped sporting program for children in several cities and regions in the Island.However , The USSR had not a wave of favorable publicity for their aid to sport in Cuba.

Thanks to the generosity of the Soviet Union, the Cuban dictatorships was host to several sporting events as “Jose A. Huelga Tournament” (baseball), “Ramon Fonst Tournament” (fencing), “Villa Clara Cup” (swimming), “Martires de Barbados Cup”(fencing), “Cerro Pelado Cup” (wrestling), “Raul Capablanca Tournament” (chess) “Barrientos Tournament” (track and field), “Giraldo Cordova Cardin Tournament (Boxing), “Moncada Cup” (gymnastics), “Jose Ramon Rodriguez Tournament” (judo), “Manuel Suarez Tournament (weighlifting) and “Cuba Cup” (diving).More than 50 nations participated, including Mexico, Venezuela, Canada, Jamaica, Colombia, Germany Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, North Korea, Guyana, Spain and Nicaragua. For example between 1961 and 1971, the People`s Republic of Bulgaria sent 400 athletes to La Havana.

Every year, Cuban delegations went to East Europe to compete in international tournaments and competitions, for example “Friendly Katowice” (basketball/Poland), “Bratislava Cup” (volleyball/Czechoslovakia), “Tungsram Cup” (waterpolo/Hungary), “Chemistry Cup” (boxing/ GDR), “Pravda Bratislava” (track and field/Czechoslovakia), “Olympic Day” (track and field/GDR), “Savaria Cup” (volleyball/ Hungary). Furthermore,La Havana was host to several olympic tournaments: Pan American Games (1991), Central American and Caribbean Games (1982) Women`s Basketball Preolympic and the 26th World Cup Baseball (1984).

In the past, Cuba sent more than 50 coaches to study in the World Soviet. Alejandrina Herrera was graduated from Leipzing Sports School in 1968.Julio Becquer Pino was graduated from Vladimir Illich Lenin Superior Culture Physical Institute in Moscow.Jose Yañez was sent to the Medicine Academy in Bulgaria.Like Loaquin Loo, Verania Piñera and Juana Bravet Quesis, Jose Godoy Sanchez studied physical education at the Moscow Institute of Central.Certainly, Cuba was not Laos or perhaps Tanzania.


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