Lots of swimmers wake up at 5:00 am in the morning to train hard every day. But to reach our goals we all have to be trusted, at least once, in life. FINA believed in more than 40 athletes and helped them to reach the top level in sport every year, since 2014.
FINA has granted almost 50 scholarships in the period 2014-2016. These have helped 36 NFs, giving opportunity to 36 athletes to take part in the FINA World Championships, Kazan (RUS) 2015, and 23 to attend the Olympic Games.
The successful results achieved in Rio at the Olympics and back in 2015, in Kazan at FINA World Championships, justify the continuity of the ongoing programme reaching the third consecutive year (2014-2017). These results we referred to are so meaningful that encouraged all the parties involved to keep the programme alive and make it grow even more. That is the reason why, as of today, more than 100 countries are receiving the invitation to apply for the FINA Scholarships Programme, part of the framework of the FINA Development Programmes.
After the launch of the application procedure, the programme itself will be able to see new skilful swimmers ready to face the challenge. The programme will kick-off officially on 1st October.
So far, it is interesting to take a look at the athletes’ participation and results achieved through this first three-year-long edition of the FINA Scholarship Programmes.
Over 50 national records were broken in just seven months thanks to the “FINA Targeting Rio 2016 – Scholarships Programme” launched in May 2015, before FINA Worlds in Kazan. The programme was fruitful straight after Kazan, when we were able to see results and the evolution of these athletes. Young athletes came from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka or Thailand, and they were selected to benefit from the scholarship programme providing high-level training facilities and on-going support to prepare them for Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Back in those days in Rio, they saw how their dream came true.
Featuring in the video:
Kimiko Raheem (SRI) made a brilliant effort on 7th of August in Rio: she took 4th place in heats 2 in the 100m backstroke and ranked 28th in a time of 1:04.21.
One day later, Sajan Prakash (IND), swam in the 200m butterfly clocking 1:59.37 and achieving the 4th place in the heats number 1. He ranked 28th, as his colleague Raheem did the day before.
Some other examples of athletes who could take advantage of the FINA Programme in Tanyapura (Thailand), are those athletes who started to see how their effort was paying off through the training Programme such as:
Khader Bagalah (JOR), the first ever Jordanian swimmer to achieve a qualifying time for the Olympic Games in the 200m freestyle.
Marcelo Alberto Acosta Jimenez (ESA) who was the first El Salvadorian athlete qualified for the Games with an “A” standard time in the 1500m freestyle (he swam in the heats 2 and took 2n place clocking 15:08.17).
19-year-old Naomi Ruele (BOT) from Botswana increased her work capacity since the beginning of the programme and was capable of competing in Rio with Universality time in the 50m freestyle. She swam in the heats 6 clocking 26.23, so she assured her 2nd place, but in the overall she ranked 47th.
As mentioned above, FINA will be giving more opportunities to talented athletes by providing financial and technical assistance. All these programmes will allow FINA National member Federations to develop and put in place training programmes. FINA also provided assistance for officials and coaches with plenty of Clinics and Schools particularly targeted towards their formation.