THE 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES : Notes : Official Says Police Prevented Brawl Between Cubans, Castro Protesters

Times Staff Writer

Public Safety Director Richard I. Blankenbaker said that there was no doubt Indianapolis police had prevented a "street brawl" Sunday at a baseball game here between Cuba and Nicaragua when officers separated a large contingent of Cuban nationals from a group of about 20 protesting against Cuban President Fidel Castro in a parking lot.

Blankenbaker said that a group of Cuban nationals and athletes had made the potential for violence obvious when they went into the stands near where the anti-Castro group, the Miami-based Cuba Independiente y Democratica, was sitting.

Nothing more than icy stares were exchanged inside Bush Stadium by the two groups, who were being watched by FBI agents and city police, including Chief of Police Paul Annee, Deputy Chief of Police James Campbell and Blankenbaker.

After the last out, police blocked the Cuban nationals and athletes from leaving their seating area while other officers escorted the CID members into the aisle. When the way was cleared for them, the Cuban nationals, including security officials for the Cuban delegation, ran out of the stadium, where they were met by a line of city police who kept them from following CID members.

What Larry A. Conrad, executive producer of the closing ceremony, called "something for everyone" when he announced that Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine would play, has been termed "a provocation" by Manuel Gonzalez Guerra, president of the Cuban Olympic Committee.

The Cuban delegation is threatening to boycott the closing ceremonies if the rock group plays because it is composed of Cubans now living in the United States.

Because Cuba will play host to the Pan American Games in 1991, it is being featured at the closing ceremony. When he announced the group last Friday, Conrad explained: "Its upbeat style is practically a universal language in itself."

Guerra said: "The United States has 50 states and why, then, did they have to choose (a group from) Florida? They could have made a selection from Honolulu."

The group's lead singer, Estefan, and her husband, Emilio, are from Cuba and are now living in Miami. Estefan's father, reportedly, was once a bodyguard for former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista's wife.

No one is yet venturing a guess as to who will coach the 1988 U.S. Olympic boxing team. Pat Nappi, who has had the job since the 1976 Olympics, has said he doesn't want it a fourth time, and won't take it if it's offered.

The candidates most frequently mentioned are Nappi's former assistant and the U.S. Pan Am Games coach, Roosevelt Sanders, U.S. Army coach Ken Adams, Joe Clough of Orlando, Fla.; Charlie Daniels of Pittsburgh and Robert (Pappy) Gault of Washington, who was coach of the George Foreman-led 1968 U.S. Olympic team.

The Olympic coach will be selected at the U.S.A. Amateur Boxing Federation's October meeting in Tulsa.

Sanders has by far the most experience coaching at the international level, but, as Nappi said here Sunday, it isn't safe to assume anything yet.

Rapid Development Department.: In the five Pan American Games boxing tournaments from 1951 through 1967, the United States won 12 gold medals, Cuba 4. But in the last five Pan Ams, the Cubans have overtaken the Americans. The gold count now shows Cuba 28, United States 23. The United States leads in total medals, 66-45.

U.S. hammer thrower Bill Green, who tested positive for excessive amounts of testosterone at the Pan American Games, attended Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Fremont's most notable alumnus is Peter Ueberroth.

The only internationally certified rowing course in the United States is the one that is being used for Pan American Games competition.

The U.S. rowers like it well enough to have scheduled their Olympic trials for here next year.

But that doesn't necessarily mean they are going to spend a lot of time here if it's not necessary.

"It's a nice course, and it's a nice town," said Dietrich Rose, coach of the U.S. men's heavyweight eight. "But it's in the middle of nowhere."

He said most of the rowers prefer to winter in Philadelphia or Newport Beach.

Times sports editor Bill Dwyre and staff writers Earl Gustkey and Randy Harvey contributed to this story.

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