Their names were officially announced on July 29. The talented athletes are Kimiko Raheem, from Sri Lanka, Eloi Imanirugaha, from Rwanda, Vinity Hemthon, from Cambodia, Shajan Aminath, from The Maldives, Sirish Gurung from Nepal, Sajan Prakash and Shivani Kataria, both from India, and Mohammad Rahman Sagor, from Bangladesh.
All of them spent a year at Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club, training with the in-house expert coaches, Miguel Lopez Alvarado and David Escolar Ballesteros, who worked closely alongside the FINA team.
“We’ve all become very close. I feel about them as I think I would feel about my children, which means I treat them like people I care enough about that I won’t tell them what they want to hear but what I think it’s the best for them [to hear], which sometimes they don’t like but they end up appreciating,” said Miguel.
Thanyapura was selected as the official training centre for FINA and has been cooperating to promote talented swimmers from around Asia by supporting the scholarship “Targeting Rio 2016”, and providing the athletes with accommodation, training facilities, and professional coaching.
“Thanyapura offers a large variety of service and facilities to ensure that the athletes optimise their stay there. Moreover, Phuket, with its easy flight connections to all major cities in Asia, makes it a perfect option for us,” said Dr. Julio Cesar Maglione, President of FINA Development.
The team, this year, has broken their national records more than 150 times and joined several competitions from Russia to Japan, going through Malaysia, Hong Kong, from World Championships to Asian Age Group Championships and South Asian Championships
“After a year of training and after our FINA swimmers have broken national records more than 150 times, we finally get to see eight of them representing their countries and Thanyapura at the Rio Olympics. We couldn’t be any prouder, unless, of course, which is what we hope, we get to break a few more national records and put one or two of them in a semi-final which would be a great success of the history of South East Asia,” Miguel noted.