Neither the course of the years has been able to extinguish the passion of Raymundo Oña Zulueta for basketball. Actually, today he recognizes that every day he keeps with more nostalgia the memories of his life on the board.
Born in Colombia, although he practiced other sports due to his physical capacity since childhood, he assures that nothing exceeds the energy that lives under the hoop.
Perhaps this is the reason why at the end of his active career as an athlete, he will not find another option to stay in basketball, than to exercise as a coach.
With the calm nature of those who like to talk, he told us during our conversation moments that marked his life since Josefa Álvarez, from his native municipality, began to imagine the possibility of becoming a basketball player.
According to Raymundo when he stood out in that school for his skills and was promoted to the EIDE Luis Augusto Turcios Lima, from Matanzas, in 1967, life seemed to offer him the opportunity to realize his dreams; He did not waste it.
«The road was difficult, as it usually is when you look for great things. I was just a child when I joined EIDE and I had to get away from my family. This became a constant in my life, because when I was ascending to the national centers, the distance with my loved ones was greater. That’s why in sports we are all like a big family, we practically grow together with teammates and coaches.
«The arrival to the national centers demanded more responsibility, but it allowed me to play basketball in many tournaments, some of them international. In the end, that was my goal, because there is no greater pride than wearing the Cuba team shirt. »
The titles and the championships did not stifle humility in that boy from Columbus. In fact, the affable treatment of country people is still distinguished in Oña Zulueta. As one who avoids damaging the feelings of others, he chose his words to talk about the situation of basketball in the province of Matanzas. «In reality, it is necessary to improve work in the municipalities.
There we must achieve the recruitment of athletes with better qualities, which really contribute to the EIDE. It’s just about guaranteeing a systematic work from the base to the high performance centers. With the constancy, the rest comes out little by little. But in a general sense the province is not lagging behind in terms of sports results. The first category even discussed the title of the Championship two years ago and the students have also made their contributions.
«It’s very sad to see how some winning teams do not have a room where fans can watch them play. I have referred to this on other occasions and only because at present we do not have a space to replace.
Aurelio Janet Sport facility. The places where you play today do not have the necessary conditions. I think the athletes and the public deserve to have a good facility to enjoy the games. »
Currently the athletes’ commission of the territory develops a sponsorship program for the students of the sports centers, in which the glories and relevant figures of the sport offer their experience to these young people.
There are eight students who are sponsored by Raymundo Oña, who has inserted himself in this initiative. According to him, the opportunity to offer his knowledge to these students makes him remember how important his coaches were during his training.
«Contributing to the comprehensive training of athletes is an incentive for those of us who withdraw from sports. No one better than us to identify with their needs and sacrifices. This program is positive for the students and also for the former athletes, because it makes them feel useful. Matanzas has great sports figures, who can share their knowledge.
«In my case I only intend to help them exploit their skills so that they enter the high performance national centers. That is the main goal of a young athlete and in my time I had someone to guide me to get it. Coach René Jaquiné Aldama, along with others I had during my career as a basketball player, influenced my life to a large extent. Now, in my almost 65 years, I hope to be able to support them as someday someone did with me.
«Perhaps it is difficult to understand, but the fact of sharing so many experiences together creates among the athletes ties as strong as the family itself. We help each other in our goals and put our shoulder to vent a problem. That’s why coaches and teammates are so important. They helped me to shape myself as a man and athlete, but more than anything they taught me how to love basketball. »