The relationship between the U.S. and Cuba extends to the island nation’s athletes.
Part of Cuba’s National Rowing Team is spending this month training at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, the site of the World Rowing Championship next year.
Among the athletes is Angel Fournier Rodriguez, Cuba’s first world medalist in rowing. He’s training for the Olympic Games in Rio. The three athletes, coach and two trainers say they came looking for a world-class course and a climate similar to Brazil’s. Rodriguez says it’s an honor to train in Sarasota.
“The course is in excellent condition. Sincerely, it’s one of the best courses in the world, much like the one Switzerland. We have no complaints. The climate, the wind are perfect. It’s what we were looking for,” says Rodriguez.
“It’s great to have the community support behind that facility. We’re still a site under development. It will only get better when the finished tower goes on line and the boat house is on line the opportunities are endless,” says Sarah Kupiec, event & volunteer manager at Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA).
Rodriguez expects to be back in Sarasota for the World Rowing Championship next year. It’s one of 53 events at Benderson Park in 2017.