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‘Nok’ Sets Sights On Rio As First Swimmer In New Thanyapura Academy For Gifted Young Athletes

May 9, 2014 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

Thanyapura Phuket has signed one of Thailand’s most exciting young swimming star and Rio Olympics prospect Tanakrit ‘Nok’ Kittiya as the first member of its new Elite Junior Sport Academy (EJSA) programme. 

Operation-SmileThe 17-year old freestyle sensation, a winner of four gold medals at this year’s Thai National Age Group Championships, will board, train and study at the state-of-the-art sports centre as he eyes Olympic glory – an opportunity Thanyapura Executive Chairman and four-time world triathlon champion Chris McCormack described as ‘once in a lifetime’. 

He will receive the best coaching and mind training in the country while enrolled in the boarding programme of the Phuket International Academy – an international Baccalaureate (IB) World School which, when combined with the EJSA, is an Asia first where high-level mentoring helps shape young minds while top level training moulds future champions.

Nok’s goal of making his Olympic debut at the 2016 Rio Games before competing at the 2020 Tokyo Games has been greatly enhanced now that he can utilise Thanyapura’s world-class coaches, facilities and teaching methodologies while benefitting from its famed three-dimensional mind, body and soul coaching philosophy. 

Thanyapura Phuket Executive Chairman, Chris McCormack, said he and his team of globally recognised coaches and sports scientists had devised ‘The Road to Tokyo’ initiative to propel the next crop of champions to Olympic success, ‘bringing them to the attention of national squads and star-makers’. 

“We are delighted to have an athlete of Nok’s ability and potential as an ambassador on board,” Mr McCormack said. “It is a huge vote of confidence and a major feather in our cap that a competitor of his pedigree has decided to entrust us with his future. Nok’s decision to come here was made easier once he saw what we offer and he learned that he would be training alongside world champions while getting a great education. 

“We have created a unique and very important offering in this part of the world with the launch of these special sports and education opportunities for gifted young athletes. Thanyapura Phuket has unveiled an elite programme that aims to develop the very best in talented young Thai athletes and propel them to gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, focusing on three sports first: tennis, swimming and triathlon. We may also look at adding golf in the near future.” 

Thanyapura’s swimming facilities include a 50m Olympic competition pool, a 25m training and teaching pool, Omega Track start blocks, a Daktronics timing system and scoreboard, an underwater video analysis window, ozone filtration and sports science services. 

Nok is a long-distance specialist who won two gold and set a meet record at the Singapore Age Group Championships in March, which followed a bronze in the 400m freestyle at last year’s SEA Games. Leading US coach Randy Simon said the EJSA would give his charge the extra edge needed to succeed. 

“Despite the desire and willingness of swimmers to train hard, most of the Thai programmes don’t have access to the latest technologies and training tools that the top swimming countries use every day,” he said. 

“Most of these capabilities are available here at Thanyapura, and the EJSA will allow us to bring in athletes and train them just like professional and elite-level athletes. They have all the tools and support that most national teams have at their disposal, but at Thanyapura they get it with the individualised attention that will allow each swimmer to maximize their own potential.” 

From August 2014, full board and week-day boarding options at Phuket International Academy’s residential facility will be available to all students and athletes aged 13 to 18, complete with an exclusive sports scholarship programme that will see gifted athletes streamed into leading international sporting colleges upon successful completion of their secondary education. 

This allows young athletes with Olympic aspirations the chance to combine sports training with an exemplary IB education under the one roof – a unique one-stop sports and education experience that provides the type of highly fertile environment needed to move young athletes towards greatness. 

The knowledge imparted by Mr McCormack, who still competes at the top level at age 41, is invaluable. Once dubbed ESPN’s fittest man on Earth, he is the most successful triathlete of all time, having won more than 220 international races while becoming the only triathlete to be crowned ITU Olympic-distance world champion (short course) and Ironman World Champion (long course). 

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