Nygård Says Cuban Boxing Expertise Available/Part 3
Peter Nygård, the famed designer who resides on Nygård Cay, has a special liking for amateur boxing. He has virtually become the godfather of the Amateur Boxing Federation of the Bahamas. He laments the present system though and says a lot of work has to be done for the boxers to break through the regional level and enter the international arena successfully. In this the third article in the series on Peter Nygård, the focus is on what needs to happen in amateur boxing)
Last year in Martinique, the national amateur boxing team won the overall championship. This year as the host, the Amateur Boxing Federation of the Bahamas' team captured both the senior and junior division on the way to dominating the opposing countries. Regional powers like Bermuda, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago were outclassed by The Bahamas.
Without a doubt, even without Guyana and Jamaica present, The Bahamas established itself firmly as a country deep in boxing talent at the amateur level.
What though are the chances of success at a higher level?
This question was put to Peter Nygård in a recent exclusive interview.
"Well, first of all, the programme needs a lot more sophistication, organization and discipline. I just recently came from Cuba and the difference between their athletic programmes and ours here is like night and day. So in order for the progress to continue, the infrastructure has to be addressed."
"All the way around, there is a need to look at amateur boxing if the sport is going to rise above the level of being the best in this region. It needs better support from the government, from sponsors, better fan participation."
There is much work to be done in those areas alone, just to raise the level of the organization."
"Some of the organization is fine. The whole method of how they run a tournament, the judges, the referees, that part of it is very impressive and well organized. Some of the other areas need to get to the same level," said Nygård.
How can this be done?
Can Cuba somehow play a role?
Nygård thinks so.
"I think we have a tremendous opportunity. We are sitting here beside the world famous country, recognized as the best in boxing. Cuba has the best boxing agenda in the world. There is nobody even close to Cuba, not even the great United States in terms of boxing. You think of Cuba and their greatest achievement is boxing. That brings the highest recognition to Cuba," said Nygård.
According to him, there is a desire among the Cuban officials for their place to be used as a training school and for competition to go on at the provincial level to sharpen the skills of boxers and to be the nucleus for training and organizing the entire programme even more.
"So if one needs to go to school to learn more, there it is. Cuba is right there."
He is of the opinion that a total awareness of what amateur boxing can do for the country is important. Using himself as an example, the fashion magnate said the financial assistance he gives, (which is considerable), is still only a small part of what needs to happen. He advocates a more 'lasting and enduring' form of assistance.
Nygård prefers to be the catalyst for bringing about the awareness that would cause others to get involved in taking amateur boxing to the next level. He thinks too that amateur boxing needs more recognition so that others, business companies and the like would know what the Amateur Boxing Federation of the Bahamas is all about and what the boxers are capable of achieving.
Only then, he feels amateur boxing will get the kind of total participation that will certainly make a big difference.