Posted on February 28, 2017

The QOC’s Shine training camp at the Aspire Academy has concluded following a week that combined world-class coaching with educational and cultural activities. Brazil’s talented young athletes are returning home inspired and motivated for the next step on their journeys to becoming their nation’s future sporting heroes.

A key highlight of the athletes’ stay in Qatar came following their week of intense training when they had the opportunity to meet football legend, Xavi, as he trained at Al Saad football ground. Xavi spent time talking to the athletes about his own sporting experiences and providing inspirational advice about overcoming challenges. He said:

“My advice to the athletes is to not quit running after their dreams - they have to sacrifice and work hard and they have to love what they are doing. They have the opportunity to shine in athletics. My beginning in football wasn’t so easy and I know that these athletes come from poor neighbourhoods in Brazil. They’ve had a great opportunity being brought here by the QOC in order to have training sessions at the wonderful facilities of Aspire. I wish them success and luck.” In addition to their training sessions, the athletes were able to experience Qatar’s unique culture and heritage with visits that included Souq Waqif and the Qatari desert, as well as exchanging traditions and lifestyles with the Aspire Academy’s own students. Many of the athletes had not left Brazil before so the Shine project provided an opportunity for them understand a new culture and a new part of the world. Dr Thani explained how he hopes the experience will benefit the athletes:

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“The Olympic spirit is all about bridging sport, culture, education and diversity and this is exactly what we aimed to spread through our Shine project. We are so pleased that this training camp has been a huge success and we hope that it will have provided the young athletes with new experiences, knowledge and understanding that will have a positive impact on their future lives. These athletes are incredibly talented and it has been a pleasure to host them here in Qatar in cooperation with Qatar Athletics Federation and Aspire Academy to support their sporting dreams. We wish them the best of luck with the next steps on their athletics careers and look forward to closely following their progress.”

The athletics training sessions at the state-of-the-art Aspire Academy equipped the athletes with new techniques, expertise and personalised scientific and physiological measurements that they can take back to Brazil and apply to their own future sessions. These are some of Brazil’s most talented youngsters who have dreams of becoming future Olympic and World Champions and their experience in Qatar has given them information and guidance that can help take their training to new levels. Dr Hazem Farid, Deputy Sports Director of the Aspire Academy explained further:

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“The exchange of experience, knowledge and expertise between the Shine coach and our coaches will have a positive impact on the performance of the Shine athletes. I think they will benefit greatly from the training camp especially since they’ve used the facilities at Aspire and worked with numerous coaches from different backgrounds. It is safe to say that Aspire Academy has some of the best coaches and sport scientists in the world.” Following the conclusion of the training camp, talented 400m runner, 21-year-old Sarah Morais, explained exactly what this opportunity meant to her: “The experience in Doha was a very positive one - to be training with the coaches from Aspire, working in a great atmosphere with amazing facilities and training fields. I’m going to transmit everything that I’ve learnt here to my fellow athletes back home. My aim is to learn a lot from what happened here and to do my best to be back here in 2019 for the World Championships.”

The Shine project is the QOC’s Rio 2016 legacy project and was established to leave a meaningful impact on the lives of Brazil’s talented young athletes. The project is a partnership between the QOC, Aspire Academy, Qatar Athletics Federation, Rio de Janeiro Athletics Federation and Futuro Olimpico, an NGO founded by Brazilian Olympic bronze medallist, Arnaldo de Oliveira, who travelled to Qatar with the athletes.

All highlights, including films and interviews, from the Shine training camp can be found on the QOC’s social media channels under the hashtag #YallaQatar.

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