Zagreb, December 8, 2017 - Following the agreement signed last year with the Cuban Olympic Committee on cooperation and exchange of experiences and experts in the field of sports, the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) Zlatko Mateša hosted Cuban Ambassador Juan Antonio Fernandez Palacios and his associates.

As part of a three-day visit to Croatia and the signing of an interstate agreement at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Cuban ambassador headquartered in Vienna responded to the meeting at the Croatian Olympic Committee in order to concretize joint actions from the last year's agreement. The delegation of the Faculty of Kinesiology in Zagreb, headed by the Dean Tomislav Krističević and his predecessor Damir Knjaz, as well as the heads of four national sports federations identified as suitable for the Croatian-Cuban cooperation (baseball, judo, water polo and futsal) attended the meeting.

Following the welcoming speech of the Croatian Olympic Committee’s President Mateša, the Ambassador Fernandez Palacios pointed out that Cuba and Croatia have many similarities - from the size of the country and the population to the "adjacent" places in the ranking of Olympic medals at the Rio Olympics.
In addition to the previously signed agreement with the same institution in Cuba, the concretization of cooperation is reflected in the announcement of the Faculty of Kinesiology that it is ready to participate in the exchange of students (as well as of experiences in sports diagnostics).The Croatian Judo Federation and President Sanda Čorak offer, as a cooperation framework, the Program Judo in Schools, accepted by our Ministry of Science and Education, awarded with an international recognition. The Cubans have a better-developed male judo and the Croatia its female version, which opens the possibility for mutual exchange of experiences for mutual benefit. President of the Water Polo Federation Perica Bukić mentioned that Croatia is abundant in excellent coaches and therefore - for example - the expert workshop of the eminent guest Ratko Rudić would be excellent for the development of Cuban water polo. Similarly, Boris Durlen, President of the Futsal Development Committee at the Croatian Football Federation and Vice-President of UEFA’s Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee, offered expert aid for the development of futsal. The Ambassador agreed with the proposal, saying that the popularity of soccer and futsal is growing in Cuba.

On the other hand, baseball as the leading Cuban sport opens up the possibility of cooperation in the opposite direction - sending coaches to Croatia. The President of the Croatian Baseball Federation Osvaldo Vavra and Krunoslav Karin, Secretary General of the European Baseball Federation expressed their cooperativeness as well. Director of Croatian Olympic Committee’s Research and Development Program Enhancement Department Neven Šavora pointed out that there are other sports areas for Croatia's cooperation with Cuba - wrestling, boxing, volleyball, ...

The Croatian sports delegation was invited to visit Cuba in the first quarter of the next year, where the agreed cooperation of the two Olympic committees shall be further concretized. (hoo/vk)