Bangkok, 2 July, 2015 – Twenty-five future Olympians began their ‘Road to Rio 2016’ at Thanyapura – the first Official FINA Training Centre in Southeast Asia – at a press conference attended by the Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.
The world class sporting facility Thanyapura announced the official partnership with the aquatics international body FINA this week at the press conference hosted in Phuket, Thailand.
Thanyapura and FINA have awarded 25 scholarships to swimmers from around the region. They will train and live at Thanyapura, while preparing for the 2015 FINA World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics – for which they have got wild cards.
Ms. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said: “We are proud to be the official venue for the FINA scholars training here in Phuket. The Ministry is in full support of the growth of Thanyapura, as Thailand strengthens its status as the Sports Hub of Asia.”
Mr. Pipat Paniangvait, FINA Honorary Treasurer, said: “This initiative – “Targeting Rio 2016” – is part of a wider development strategy from FINA aimed at raising the level of Aquatics worldwide, providing specific programmes for athletes and officials in the five continents. In 2014, the scholarships for swimmers were created and centres are already active in USA, Portugal and now in Thailand.
“Thailand is ready to receive and host some of the most promising swimmers of this region of the world and provide them with optimal conditions of training and preparation.”
Mr. Philipp Graf von Hardenberg said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing how these young swimmers progress along their ‘Road to Rio’. “It’s a pleasure to have them training at Thanyapura – the Official FINA Training Centre in Southeast Asia. We have everything here that an athlete would need to improve their performance and make their country proud at the 2016 Rio Olympics.”
The scholarship applicants were selected from 11 countries, including Thailand, Nepal, the Maldives, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Timor Leste and Rwanda.
A male and a female swimmer will train at Thanyapura Phuket from each nation under the guidance of Thanyapura Head Swimming Coach Miguel Lopez, while using the facilities that attract some of the best swimmers from around the globe.
Head Coach Miguel, who coached five Olympians and three paralympians to success with 20 medals, said: “I am excited to have these 25 swimmers at Thanyapura. I have found a great pool of talent. The team momentum will make the swimmers better.”
The swimmers will get both an education and cultural experience of Thailand. They will stay in the Phuket International Academy boarding houses and will have the opportunity to join in on lessons, school functions, work with junior students and help coach swimming, in both PE lessons and after school activities.
Thanyapura’s swimming facilities 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.
The spectacular 23-hectare one-stop-shop mega venue is a regular training base for triathlon stars, such as two-time world champion Caroline Steffen, Hall of Famer Belinda Granger and UK F1 driver Jenson Button. World tennis player Maria Sharapova was also on the list of athletes who have trained here.
They are lured to the acclaimed sporting Mecca because of the Olympic-standard facilities and world-class stable of coaches, sports scientists, sports psychologists, dieticians, physiotherapists and chiropractors – with everything underpinned by Thanyapura’s unique three-dimensional coaching model for the mind, body and soul.