The wonders of love

Achieving social rehabilitation corresponding to the principle that sport is a people´s right, is the purpose of Luis Cantero Manuel Echavarria. His job as coach for differently able athletes in Guantánamo was a real motivation and so is explained in this interview.

What events in your life motivated you to become a coach for persons with disabilities?

 “It’s a human sensibility that I got from my youth and my childhood, why not? First, my grandfather was blind, I had to take him along the farm we lived in as I was born in the countryside, help him to ride the horse. Later my brother lost an arm; so I was also in charge of giving him a hand in many life activities. “

Which were your beginnings?

“Since childhood I was an athlete in the Beginners’ Sports School (EIDE) and I really enjoyed it. I saw myself reflected in all the teachers I had. I liked the job and then decided I was going to be a coach in Cuba. My beginnings were just in my town, not here. I was born in a small town between Las Tunas and Camagüey. Then I came to Guantánamo and here I started working at the Provincial Academy and later in 1989 I decided to work with disabled people until now. And here I am, working with then with so much pleasure, love and respect. “

Where do you work now and how many athletes do you train?

 currently work in the Provincial Center of High Performance with disabled athletes. I train six of them. In fact I don´t do this work along. I have help from two other coaches of the Higher Sports School, Victor and Yaima who work with two each.

Your work is not only limited in Cuba. It goes far beyond the country´s borders. Can you refer to the most important moments of your work in Venezuela?

 “Well, there I worked with a number of physical education programs serving in elderly homes, dance therapy, chess, working with children, so many activities that I had never done before but I managed and everything went so well that the Venezuelan government was pleased with what was done in this mission. I received several diplomas in recognition of my work mainly in Carabobo, where I worked”

 Over twenty years dedicated to the muscles work allow you to successfully interact with your athletes. What can you say about them?

“My athletes are my friends and my family. Today you ask a Guantanamo disabled athlete for Cantero and I think they will give you a very good reference about me as well as our relation, because it´s just like a family relationship. I visit them and vice versa. They miss me if I´m out so I consider them part of my life.”

What special requisite a coach of athletes with disabilities should have?

“A coach for the disabled should be a normal coach, except that he needs special sensitivity and love to devote to these people because they ´re in a way different from the rest and they really much love what they do. When they come here they do it because their convinced of their intentions.”

What are Luis Manuel Cantero´s new dreams as a coach?

“I have my dreams come true already. I can say that because I hold the highest thing a coach in the world desires, Olympic, World and Pan American Champion, today I frame my work rather to continue working with them to improve their livelihoods, their life style, to better their physical and mental conditions in order to prepare them for higher planes. I’ve made my dreams; now I intend to have theirs become a reality. “


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