31 Dec 2020

DOHA, 29 December 2020. Aspire Academy Endurance Development camp took place from 14-17 December at Sealine in Qatar. With the normal sports training camp season severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the situation called for creativity and the Aspire Endurance team came up with a home-made solution and decided to run camp in the Desert at Sealine surrounded by nature, sand dunes, sea and the greenery of the Sealine Beach Resort. The camp was for the youthful year student -athletes most of whom were on their first training camp. The goal of the camp was to help build on the momentum gained since the start of the year and help us put plans in place for hopefully more training camp opportunities to come in 2021. The student-athletes were able to mix serious training workouts with activities like, swimming sand dune bashing and reflection time with coaches and fellow student-athletes.

According to Aspire Academy Endurance lead coach, David McCarthy who along with fellow Aspire coaching staff that led the training camp, Team Culture Support, Mathew Cullen and Aspire Resident Educator and graduate, Ahmad Jaad , the camp went beyond everyone’s expectations, “The venue and environment turned out to be ideal and fit for purpose for the goals we had in mind as coaching staff. On this training camp we managed to get important background information that helps in our understanding of Development Student-Athletes form a holistic perspective. This helps to strengthen communication with coach and the interaction with each SA in terms of relationship building and fostering intrinsic motivation which was boasted, through the type of general activities and sessions we held. In this time of the coronavirus it has been difficult to travel abroad for training camp and we thought why not go local and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made, because this has been a wonderful training camp.   Aspire student-athlete,  Faris Ayman Salih Ali, who was on his first ever training camp was elated with the experience and paid tribute to the training programme the coaches ran for them,  “ We came here to this training camp to get out of the daily routine and relax and the training camp here in the desert has been a nice camp; we swim and  train in the morning.  I like running very much as a sport and l expect to take benefits from the experience.  The coach worked with us to improve, we started from a low level and now we are improving and getting better each time. This year we are expecting new records and new medals. One of the benefits of this camp is that we as athletes and coaches were living together and closely with each other for a long period which is a good thing for us. As a student athlete at Aspire Academy this is something, I am proud of and I thank Aspire Academy for how it provides us with such support for us to be the best we can be.”

Meanwhile, the Qatar national swim team is on a training camp in preparation for the forthcoming international competitions. The camp runs from 14 to 31 December 2020 and is the second time in the year that a training camp has been put together since sport stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic. Qatar Swimming Association run first training camp in August for 18 days to prepare the swimmers for the forthcoming swimming season. It’s all hands to the deck as the swimmers crisscross between Aspire Academy pool and Hamad Aquatic Centre for intensive training that also includes fitness sessions in the Aspire gym. The Qatar national swim team counts Aspire student-athletes and graduates among its number and they are hoping to make the final squad for the 2021 annual GCC competition in swimming scheduled for March 2021 and the AASF Asian Age Groups Championships 2021. The year 2021 is also expected to pack in other swimming competitions that were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, such as FINA Swimming World Cup, which means. Having missed a lot of training time in the water due to the period when all sport competition and participation stopped during the pandemic, the swimming programme has been gradually returning to levels of training and this camp has seen swimmers across all age groups working under the coaches from Qatar Swimming Association in strict adherence  to medical protocols outlined by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH).

Qatar Swimming Association coach, Omar Kheddache said the training camp has been well received by the swimmers and due to the fruitful partnership and relationship between Qatar Swimming Association and Aspire Academy their operations have been running smoothly. “Everyone associated with swimming is pleased and grateful for the cooperation between the two key players in our sport, Qatar Swimming Association and Aspire Academy, for they work together so well that we are able to hold this training camp without any issue at all. We concentrate on the work at hand, improving each swimmer individually and yet also working on them as a team. As you know the facilities, we have here offer us the best for our needs and enable us to have thorough preparations. Among the swimmers here, are 9 Aspire student-athletes including Mohamed Mohmoud Elmasry who is regarded as one of the top swimmers for his age group (U-18) along with upcoming strong swimmers like, Kareem Salama and Abdallah Elgamry.

As for Mohamed Elmasry, a grade 11 student at Aspire Academy and a Gulf gold medalist, he is well pleased to be able to train the pool again. “We are preparing for a for about 100 days we could not do any water-training due to the pandemic and l am delighted to be part of this camp. It has been hard during lockdown, but we had programmes for home training and online exercise to stay fit and had to adapt to long distance learning and training, but we are grateful for the lessons this period taught us. When I started out l swam breaststroke events, but l found my passion for the 200m Individual Medley which is now my main event but now l am also trying to improve on the 400m Individual Medley which is a longer race that needs more endurance and a better stroke rate. This camp is part of our preparation for Gulf Championships and Arab Championships”, said Mohamed Elmasry.

 And so, it turns out that in times when it has been difficult to hold training camps abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic, local camps on home soil have turned out to be of great benefit for all, athletes and the country’s tourism industry.

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