Sri Lankan Olympic hopefuls commenced a full-time one-year swimming training stint through the FINA Targeting Rio 2016 Olympic Scholarship at the Thanyapura Aquatic Training Centre in Phuket, Thailand recently.
Swimmers Cherantha De Silva (Ananda College/Rainbow Aquatics Club) and Kimiko Raheem (Asian International School/Killer Whale Aquatics Club) are part of the worldwide scholarship program Targeting Rio 2016 to assist national federations in order to help identify, qualify, and prepare athletes for the 2016 Olympics in Rio and the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan.
FINA as part of its efforts to develop aquatics in Southeast Asia, has selected Thanyapura, Phuket as its official training centre to offer financial and technical assistance for potential elite athletes selected and proposed by respective national federations.
Accordingly one male and one female athlete from 19 Southeast Asian FINA-member national federations of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia, China Taipei, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, India, Maldives, and Macau have come together to commit themselves to intensive training with the hope of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
We hope they will make the best use of this opportunity and make history by becoming the first group of Sri Lankan swimmers to break the Olympic qualifying barrier and move-away from wildcard participation, said Nethru Nanayakkara, President of the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union on the selection of these athletes.
The first stop as part of the scholarship on the road to Rio for these two swimmers will be the FINA World Championships to be held next month in Kazan, Russia.
The athletes under the supervision of triathlon, Olympic and Paralympic medal success Head Coach Miguel Lopez Alvarado, Junior Swim Coach Marianne Jongsma and Boarding School Live-in Mentor David Ballesteros follow a daily training regime in the fully equipped aquatics complex comprising a 50-meter Olympic standard pool with video analysis window and a 25-meter lap and teaching pool, an athletics complex and gym facilities.
Thanyapura’s food and beverage offerings are made with fresh organic ingredients and designed to be healthy and nutritious to sustain athletes through long training days. The centre also caters to the welfare needs of the athletes with a complete hostel comprising twin-shared rooms with personal work spaces amidst modern facilities like Wi-Fi, common TV/entertainment, kitchen, activity rooms and recreational facilities within an access-controlled secure environment. Live-in mentors also closely monitor the athletes with strict regimented lights-out, non-internet quiet times, etc.