PHUKET, THAILAND – Thanyapura Phuket has teamed with Aquatics governing international body FINA to award up to 38 scholarships to Southeast Asia swimmers that will allow them to train and live at the world class facility for a year and receive a wildcard entry into the 2015 FINA World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The sports complex will become the first official FINA training centre in Southeast Asia in what the body has described as an ‘ambitious’ debut programme that it aims to become a long term endeavour promoting aquatic disciplines in Asia.
The ‘Targeting Rio 2016’ swimmers will be selected from 19 countries – Thailand, China, Taipei, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Philippines, Timor Leste, Brunei Darussalam, India, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Macau, Singapore, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia – a male and a female from each nation. They will arrive at the state of the art facility between May and June to train under Thanyapura head swimming coach Miguel Angel Lopez Alvarado and utilise facilities that attract some of the best swimmers in the world.
In announcing its agreement with Thanyapura as part of a worldwide initiative to offer scholarships to talented swimmers in developing countries, Dr. Julio Cesar Maglione President of FINA Development said: “FINA, in our intention to globally support the development of the aquatic disciplines, is working on the development of a high performance training centre network to assist our national federations. We believe that Thanyapura follows this spirit and provides an amazing environment for the athletes and the national teams in their training and preparation.”
“Thanyapura offers a large variety of services and facilities to ensure that the athletes optimise their stay there. Moreover, Phuket, with its easy flight connections around Asia, makes the centre a perfect option for us.”
The scholarship winners will be chosen by their respective national swimming federations and have access to an alternative means of paying for their preparation for the world championships and Olympics with this scholarship.
They were selected because it is believed they have the potential to become elite swimmers, and having access to a venue like Thanyapura will make a significant difference. Their ages start from 16.
“We are delighted to have been appointed by FINA for such a worthy endeavour,” said Mr Philipp Graf von Hardenberg, Thanyapura President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are honoured to be entrusted with this important task, and we look forward to playing an instrumental role as 38 swimmers head towards the realisation of their Olympic dream, while at the same time we will boost advance swimming in our region.”
The FINA World Championships will be held in Kazan, Russia in July and August, meaning the swimmers will have less than three months to prepare for the event after arriving in Phuket.
FINA believes Thanyapura is ‘a perfect heat and humidity training base for various athletes and national teams preparing for major competitions over the next few years’.
It also described Thanyapura – tranquilly situated on 23 pristine hectares at the foothills of a national park – as a ‘world class sports, education and training facility whose mission is to unlock the full potential of the human spirit through athletics, academics and service to others’.
The scholarship holders will have access to swimming facilities that include a 50m Olympic competition pool, a 25m training and teaching pool, Omega Track start blocks, a Daktronics timing system and scoreboard, an underwater video analysis window, ozone filtration and sports science services.
They will also be exposed to an outstanding stable of coaches, sports scientists, sports psychologists, dietitians, physiotherapists and chiropractors – with everything underpinned by Thanyapura’s unique three-dimensional coaching model for the mind, body and soul.
Its other amenities include the 115 room Thanyapura Sports Hotel, which provides comfortable, quiet and modern rooms, the highest quality organic food and highly trained massage therapists.
The scholarship recipients will also utilise the Thanyapura Mind Centre, a leader in the global movement to connect the benefits of mental training with the mainstream. The centre aims to make mental training practices accessible to all by offering the best meditation, psychology, yoga and related programmes.
“We have everything an athlete needs to improve their performance,” Mr Graf von Hardenberg said. “If the scholars are minors, they will stay in our Phuket International Academy Boarding School, where sport affine mentors will take care of their wellbeing. The adult swimmers will stay in the Sport Hotel. I’m really looking forward to seeing how these young swimmers progress over the next year.”
‘Targeting Rio 2016’ is funded by Olympic Solidarity, the Olympic Council of Asia and FINA.