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Phuket's Olympic Ambitions News Feed

Phuket's Olympic Ambitions

Phuket has long been recognized as one of Southeast Asia’s premier sporting hubs, thanks to events like the Phuket Marathon and the King’s Cup Regatta, but the island is now also enjoying new found status as a centre of olympic swimmers.

A total of 25 hopeful olympians recently kicked off their ‘Road to Rio 2016’ training at Thanyapura Phuket, the island’s world class health and educational complex, according to the Phuket Gazette.

Thanyapura announced its partnership with the Official Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA), the international aquatics body, at a recent press conference that was attended by Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Khun Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul and Phuket’s Governor, Khun Nisit Jansomwong.

FINA and Thanyapura have awarded 25 scholarships to talented swimmers from around the region who will live and train at Thanyapura as they prepare for the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“We are proud to be the official venue for the FINA scholars training here in Phuket,” Khun Kobkarn told the press. “The Ministry is in full support of the growth of Thanyapura, as Thailand strengthens its status as the Sports Hub of Asia,” he added.

The initiative is part of a wider development strategy from FINA, aimed at raising the level of aquatic sports worldwide and providing specific programmes for athletes and officials on five continents. In 2014, the scholarships for swimmers were created and centres are already active in the USA, Portugal and now Thailand.

“Thailand is ready to receive and host some of the most promising swimmers in this region of the world and provide them with optimal conditions for training and preparation,” explained Pipat Paniangvait, the Honorary Treasurer of FINA. Scholarship applicants were chosen from 11 countries, including Thailand itself, Nepal, the Maldives, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Timor Leste and Rwanda.

Health and fitness is even becoming a popular choice for tourists visiting the Land of Smiles. Islands like Phuket and Koh Samui already host a number of events and activities for fitness enthusiasts to enjoy, including Phuket’s annual Laguna Marathon and The Laguna Phuket Triathlon, which features a 1.8km swim, a 55km bike ride and a 12km run. Since it began, the race has attracted numerous triathlon stars from around the world, including Mark Allen, Greg Welch and Craig Alexander.




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