Fifty-five sports trainers from India have arrived in Cuba, signalling a fresh chapter in sports cooperation between the two countries.

“Two groups of Indian trainers, one for high-performance sports and the other for community sports, will be here for the next six weeks to receive training and suggestions on how to transform India into a sports power,” Cuban Ambassador to India Miguel Angel Ramirez was quoted as saying by Prensa Latina news agency.

The presence of Cuban coaches in India is not a new phenomenon. B.I. Fernandez has been coaching Indian boxers for more than a decade and recently played a major role in India’s success at the Commonwealth and the Asian Games.

At the New Delhi Commonwealth Games, Indian boxers won four bronze medals and three golds while in the Asian Games, the men’s team recorded their best-ever haul, bagging seven medals.

“The Indian sports minister decided to send a large group of sports trainers to Cuba to improve the performance of Indian athletes, taking into consideration the progress made by India at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games and the fact that the help of Cuban coaches has been well-established and recognised.”

“India is becoming a global power in boxing courtesy the Cuban coaches,” the ambassador said.

A longstanding bilateral agreement for sports cooperation was signed between the two countries when Mani Shankar Aiyar was sports minister in 2007. Two years ago, a large delegation of Cuban sports experts visited India to draw up a report on how to improve the performance of athletes, which was subsequently implemented successfully.

Besides boxing, India will use Cuban expertise in diving, fencing, athletics, weightlifting, archery and wrestling. Other disciplines such as volleyball and martial arts are also likely to be shortly incorporated.

As a part of the new agreement, coaches and athletes from different sports will travel to Cuba to receive advice and training.

The Indian government also wants to extend its current cooperation with Cuba in community sports.

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