Cuba Takes Pride in Its Boxers

June 26, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. legend (n.) 
[lej-uhnd] – a famous person who is admired for being good at doing something
Example: Tiger Woods is a legend in golf.

2. amateur (n.) [am-uh-choor, -cher, -ter, am-uh-tur– an athlete who does not compete for money
Example: Many, but not all, Olympic athletes are amateurs.

3. professional (n.) [pruh-fesh-uh-nl] – an athlete who receives payment for competing or performing
Example: Athletes in Major League Baseball, like Ichiro Suzuki, are professionals.

4. keep track (v.) [keep trak] – to follow or be informed about what someone or something is doing
Example:  I keep track of my favorite sports teams by watching their games on TV.

5. patriotic (adj.) [pey-tree-ot-ik] – having pride in, love for, and loyalty to one’s own country
Example: The Olympics inspires patriotic feelings, especially when a person’s fellow countryman wins a medal.

Article(10 minutes)
Read the text below.
Cuba may be small, but it has some of the best boxers in the world. The country boasts a total of 32 Olympic gold medals for boxing.

Among its boxing legends are Hector Vinent Charon and Teofilo Stevenson, who have won two and three Olympic gold medals respectively.

According to Vinent, Cuban boxers are different from others because of Cubans’ intelligence and fighting spirit. Stevenson, meanwhile, says Cubans like boxing because they value a strong attitude and self-defense.

Under government law, Cuban sportspeople, including boxers, are strictly amateurs. This qualifies them for competitions like the Olympics, but does not allow them to earn millions of dollars like professionals. The need for money has caused some boxers to leave their home country.

But Cuba’s boxing commissioner, Alberto Puig, believes Cuban fighters are strong because they are patriotic. He says Cuba’s talented boxers may not earn millions in money, but they fight with support from the 11 million people of Cuba.

Puig also credits the Cuban government, which he describes as really good at finding and developing talent at a very young age. He says the government keeps track of talented boxers, even those in the farthest areas of Cuba.

Young talents are usually trained in places like the Rafael Trejo gym in Havana. There, Vinent teaches kids as young as eight years old how to box. Most of them will not become great fighters, but Vinent says boxing teaches them confidence and life skills they can use every day.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Cubans do well in boxing. What sport do you think your countrymen are good at? Please explain the reasons for this.
·         Does your government do a lot to promote sports or help people train for sports? Why do you think so?

Discussion B

·         What are the benefits of having a worldwide competition like the Olympics?
·         Given the chance, would you want to compete in the Olympics? Why or why not?


June 26, 2012