Posted on February 23, 2017

The athletes participating in the Qatar Olympic Committee’s (QOC) Shine project have spoken about their experience of travelling to Qatar to train at the Aspire Academy and the impact that this will have on their future careers. The young Brazilians from disadvantaged backgrounds are spending the week receiving specialised coaching and sport science testing to support their journeys to becoming Brazil’s future athletics stars.  

For many of the athletes, it is the first time that they have left Brazil and training at Qatar’s state-of-the-art facilities with the Aspire Academy’s athletics specialists is providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Speaking from the training camp, 20-year-old sprinter, Rayneson Pereira Silva, said: “This is one of the biggest and best experiences in my life because I’m studying sport science in addition to being an athlete. So being here and seeing the facilities is a very good experience with great learnings.” 400m specialist Paola Moreira Rosa, 22, added: “Training here is very beneficial for my athletics career - not just because of these great facilities but also because I get to see other athletes train and meet different coaches which will help me learn many things.”

Brazilian athletes hail Shine training 2 [].jpgTravelling to a new country and a new part of the world is providing the opportunity for the athletes to experience a completely different culture and benefit from the training camp in more ways than just sport, with cultural visits around Qatar also featuring as part of their programme. Commenting on the difference in cultures, Paola said, “Qatar is so different from Brazil, even the way people greet each other but I like it”, with Rayneson adding, “I expected people to be more reserved but everyone has been very friendly. What I like the most about Qatar is that everyone speaks about their culture and they’re very proud of it.”

Commenting on the Shine project, Secretary General of the QOC, Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, said: “Through Shine, we were determined to spread the Olympic spirit and give these young Brazilian athletes a sporting, educational and cultural experience that will have a deep impact on their future lives. The last time I saw them was when we welcomed them to Bayt Qatar, our hospitality house at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and showed them what they would experience when they visited Qatar. It is wonderful to see them here in Doha enjoying our facilities, culture, and passion for sport first-hand and to watch how our Shine project has come to life. I hope to welcome many of them back here again for the World Championships in 2019!”

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 has attended the training camp with the athletes and plans to apply his own learnings to his coaching when he returns to Brazil. Speaking about the experience, Arnaldo said:

Brazilian athletes hail Shine training 3 [].jpg

“This is the best thing that these athletes have ever experienced and they are very thankful for it. The athletes have a lot to gain from training at Aspire Academy, from the facilities and the expertise. We’ll take the methodology that we learn here and apply it to our trainings in Brazil. The facilities here are really amazing. Unfortunately we don’t have the same infrastructure in Brazil so we’ll utilise our experience and take our learnings back to Brazil”.

The Shine participants are some of Brazil’s most promising young athletes and qualified for the Shine training camp at an athletics competition held in Rio de Janeiro last May featuring almost 200 athletes from across the region. Many of them have their sights firmly set on future Olympic Games and World Championships but Arnaldo explains what that will take: ‘the Shine athletes are very talented but they must work hard to win medals. They have to believe in themselves and work towards qualifying for the Olympics before thinking about winning medals.”

With the Doha 2019 World Championships in Athletics just two years away, many of the athletes could be returning to Qatar to represent their countries on the world’s biggest stage. For Paola, this experience has given her even greater drive to achieve her dreams: “I have to train harder and focus more because I really want to be back here for the 2019 World Championships.” The Shine training camp will continue until 25th February and the highlights and progress from the trip are being documented on the QOC’s social media channels under the hashtag #YallaQatar.