However, the sporting programme at the well-known school is now taking a further step forward with the formation of the BISP Triathlon Academy led by Head Coach Sergio Borges, a man with more than 25 years experience in a sport that is a true test of an athlete’s endurance.
As a competitive triathlete, Sergio has competed around the world in all race distances, including 25 Ironman, and also qualified for the Ironman World Championships on a remarkable eight occasions. Over the last two decades, he has also become a well-respected coach on the international circuit.
Part of the school’s expanding High Performance College, the BISP Triathlon Academy was launched in mid-2016 and has three main goals for its students: developing athletes to be able to get college scholarships, become Olympians, and pursue a professional career within the sport.
There was no triathlon academy prior to Sergio’s arrival, as he was specifically invited by the school’s management to start the programme as an addition to their successful football, swimming, tennis and golf academies. The new coach already has athletes from all over the world in his care.
“This is very exciting for me,” Sergio told The Phuket News in a recent interview.
“The BISP Triathlon Academy is a new programme, which is still small. We currently have six athletes: two on the Development Team and four on the High Performance Team,” he said.
However, the athletes he does have are already performing well.
“Results so far this season are speaking for themselves, with two wins and a 6th place in a Junior ITU race in Hong Kong in October,” Sergio said.
But it is Sergio’s aim to grow the academy by bringing in youngsters from as far afield as the United States and develop them to becoming sporting greats.
“In the near future my goal is to have at least 20 athletes in the academy and to develop the High PerformanceTteam. I have already seen a lot of potential from athletes from Asia, the Middle East and the US who are looking for a great academic and sport programme like we offer here,” he said.
When asked what he brings to the academy, Sergio said, “Over the years I have worked with athletes of all ages. My coaching experience includes 15 years with university teams, but also with the USA National Junior Team and their U23s, so I bring a lot of experience – I also bring passion.”
Asked how he would personally see that his role in the academy had been a success, Sergio replied, “To always give my very best through education and teaching athletes how to really be high level performers. Everything I do I do with passion, and I want to pass this on to the athletes I coach.”
With the BISP Triathlon Academy programme still so young, Sergio admits it will take time for him to get his athletes where he wants them to be, and achieving consistently at a top level.
“I think we are still far from being at a high performance level, not only at the school but in Asia in general. We need at least three to five years of hard and consistent training to start getting good international results.
“Triathlon is, like many other sports, about consistent training and patience. It takes a long time to develop Olympic-level athletes,” he said.
But with talented athletes from BISP’s other sporting academies already winning international competitions, Sergio acknowledges that he is tasked with making the BISP Triathlon Academy a similar success story, and is already preparing his charges for intense international competition.
“Right now we are building up to a race in Abu Dhabi in March 2017 [the ITU World Cup], where I will have athletes racing in the 12, 14 and 18 year-old divisions. We will also do local races [in Phuket] and a race in Singapore in January to keep athletes motivated and sharp,” he said.
On a final note, Sergio said that he is in this role for the long-haul, and he is aiming high when it comes to how he sees the academy succeeding in the future.
“I’m looking for long-term work here. I’m here to stay and will make the BISP Triathlon Academy programme we have at the British International School, Phuket the best that any international school has. I always have, and always will, dream big!”
For more information about the BISP Triathlon Academy visit www.bisphuket.ac.th/triathlon, follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/triathlonphuket, or email Head Coach Sergio Borges at: firstname.lastname@example.org