OCA Swimming Youth Camp instructor Pierre Lafontaine gives a pep talk before the start of the nine-day camp at the Hamad Aquatic Centre on Wednesday.Council News
Date : 06 Nov 2019
Doha, Qatar, November 6, 2019: Wide-eyed and bubbling with enthusiasm, the future of Asian swimming took part in the Olympic Council of Asia’s youth camp which opened on Wednesday morning at the Hamad Aquatic Centre in Doha, Qatar.
A total of 98 athletes and officials – 66 swimmers and 32 coaches - from 33 National Olympic Committees are taking part in the second OCA youth camp staged this year. The swimmers are all under 17 years and carry the medal prospects of Asian NOCs at future international events.
“They could well be in the pool at the 2024 Olympics or the 2028 Olympics. This is the start of the journey,” said Pierre Lafontaine, the former Canadian Olympic swimming team head coach who was appointed by FINA, the world swimming governing body, to run the camp organised by the OCA.
The nine-day camp from November 6-14 is being held in cooperation with the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity and in partnership with the Qatar Swimming Association and Qatar Olympic Committee.
“This is our second youth camp this year following skateboarding in Nanjing, China. This Olympic Council of Asia and Olympic Solidarity project is in line with the OCA mission to support and develop the youth in Asia through education and sport,” said OCA representative Elena Chakarova of the International Relations Department.
“We have brought together so many young people from different nations for nine days where they will not only practise together but also will learn from each other. Even if they don’t speak the same language, they share the universal language of sport,” Chakarova added.
Course instructor Lafontaine has trained a number of Olympic medallists in Canada, the United States and Australia. He was the chief executive officer and head coach of Swimming Canada for more than eight years, coaching the national team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics as well as numerous world championships and Commonwealth Games.
“What I’m trying to achieve in the next few days is to build a great experience for these kids which will hopefully inspire them to carry on to achieve great things,” Lafontaine said.
All Asian NOCs were invited by the OCA to send one male swimmer, one female swimmer and a coach.
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