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THE FINA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME AT THANYAPURA

Thanyapura Sports & Health Resort currently trains athletes from around South East Asia under the FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) scholarship programme, and has been a fully certified FINA training centre since 2015. FINA has been providing scholarships for athletes and young athletes since 2014. With a ‘focus on the athlete’, the FINA training programme at Thanyapura is run under the guidance of experienced Head Coach Alexander Tikhonov.

Founded in 1908 at the London Olympics, FINA’s initial goal was to establish unified rules for swimming, diving and water polo; to verify world records and establish an updated world records list; and to manage swimming competitions at the Olympics. A century later, FINA is dedicated to offering the Aquatics disciplines at all levels throughout the world regardless of age, gender or race, and promoting international relations through a shared love for sport.

Head Coach Alexander Tikhonov has been working with a number of FINA scholarship athletes since Thanyapura became a certified training ground in 2015. Miguel is originally from the Spanish Canary Islands and has more than 20 years experience as an elite swimming coach. He has worked with sixteen Olympic swimmers and three Paralympics champions, spanning six different Olympics and Paralympics games to date, and his swimmers have broken over ten world records and two hundred national records under his guidance.

When asked him about his swimmers, Miguel replied back, “We’ve all become very close. I feel about them as I think I would feel about my children. Which means I treat them like people I care enough that I won’t tell them what they want to hear. But what I think it’s the best for them, which sometimes they don’t like but they end up appreciating,”.

Alexander Tikhonov

“The program has helped develop a training culture in their countries, as well as a very healthy rivalry among them as they bond and compete at the same time.” Said by Alexander Tikhonov

Kinley Lhendup

(Bhutan)

Kinley is a gifted swimmer and joined the FINA program thanks to the Bhutan Olympic Committee who recognized his talent. During the 4 years of his time here, Kinley has represented Bhutan at the 18th Fina World Championships Gwangju 2019, 15th FINA World Championships Abu Dhabi 2021 and is currently training for the 19th Fina World Championships Budapest 2022. Kinley has broken several national records and is continuing to push his own personal best times. Kinley always brings a smile to the pool and is ready to put in the effort to achieve the goals he and Coach Alex have set for the future. Thanyapura and the FINA program have been a big part of his swimming journey and will continue to support his future endeavors.

Sangay Tenzin

(Bhutan)

Sangay is a talented swimmer who has shown exponential growth during the short time he has been with us at Thanyapura. Sangay keeps to himself however loves to push himself and others around him. Milestone achievements of Sangay include representing Bhutan at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, 2019 Fina World Championships Gwangju, and 2021 Fina World Championships Budapest. Sangay broke his national record at the Tokyo Olympics which is a major accomplishment as only a very small percentage of swimmers are able to swim personal best times at major events. Sangay believes it is because of the facilities and support received during his time at Thanyapura is why he was able to grow as a swimmer.

Nur Haziq Samil

(Brunei)

Haziq came to Thanyapura’s insight of qualifying for a World Championships. After a few years of hard work and dedication, Haziq participated in the 19th World Championships Budapest 2022. He will compete in the 200m and 400m freestyle. The FINA program and Thanyapura have given Haziq the opportunity to further his swimming career and now he is reaping the rewards. Haziq feels honored and grateful to have been able to continue to train in a world-class facility under world-class coaches.

Phan Sovannrun Montross

(Cambodia)

Sovann is a national swimmer for Cambodia that has represented his country in several international meets during his time here. Sovann was the first FINA Scholarship holder to both attend school at UWC whilst training at Thanyapura. This allowed him to continue his studies and further his swimming career. Sovann has shown great potential and talent during his time here. Sovann has recently graduated from UWCT and is taking a gap year in the hopes of improving his personal best times and qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics. He thanks his coaches and the program for helping him find a balance between education and swimming.

Edgar Richardson Iro

(Solomon Islands)

Edgar has shown tremendous growth in both his swimming times and work ethic. Training at Thanyapura allowed Edgar the opportunity to represent the Solomon Islands at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Not only have we had the privilege to see Edgar represent his country at several international meets, we have also seen his love for the sport grow and now he hopes to return these traits he has learned to his country. Edgar feels that training at Thanyapura has been truly life changing in not only the swimming aspect but for his future after the sport.

Finau Lino Ohuafi

(Tonga)

Finau has been breaking his own personal best times recently, along with Tongan national records. He was made aware of the FINA programme after being recognised as the fastest swimmer in his country. He finds training at Thanyapura a new and amazing experience, especially working with such elite coaches. Over the past few years Finau has trained under Coaches Miguel and Alex, where he believes they have not only taught him lessons in swimming but also for his future endeavors after swimming. He now hopes to become a coach himself one day.

Makelyta Singsombath

(Laos)

Makelyta (AKA Margherita) has grown up in Thailand and this year has found herself eligible to join the FINA programme. Upon joining, she was selected to represent her country at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Hungary where she broke 2 national records in the 50 & 100m breaststroke. This has ignited a spark in her swimming career and she has her eyes set on the next Olympics with aims to qualify with a B-cut in the 100m breaststroke whilst balancing her schooling at the same time.

Jehanara Nabi

(Pakistan)

Jehanara was scouted out a few years ago and brought to Thanyapura to train with the team by an experienced & qualified coach. Her talent and hard work has shown tremendously in this period, and upon receiving the FINA scholarship this year she has managed to excel even further. Currently holding many national records across the freestyle and IM events, this Pakistani mermaid has her eyes set for the Olympics with high hopes in setting history for Pakistani Swimming.

Aniqah Gaffoor

(Sri Lanka)

Aniqah has been at Thanyapura for a number of years now, and having that experience has surely driven her swimming career. She was selected to represent Sri Lanka at the Olympics whilst on her first cycle of the FINA scholarship. Making her Olympic debut at 17 years old, she has made it a goal to continue training to perform even better at the next Olympic Games in 2024. Having been offered a University scholarship at Lewis & Clark in the US earlier this year, this lassies swimming career is looking to be an exciting journey.

Matthew Vali

(Papua New Guinea)

Matthew was selected by his federation to join the FINA programme as of early 2022. Having grown up on an island and around water, there was no doubt he had found his gills at a young age. His older sister, who was also a representative in swimming for the nation of Papua New Guinea, has set a high bar in competitive swimming. Vali himself has been selected on a senior national team prior to experiencing the FINA program and with the help of the coaches and team at Thanyapura, this island boy is determined to work hard and target another international competition in which he can wave his country’s flag.

Harivony Jonathan Raharvel

(Madagascar)

Jonathan is our most recent recruit from Madagascar and has acclimatized quite smoothly upon arrival. Having first represented his country in 2018, he has since then grown more passionate about swimming and has set further goals (in the water) for himself. As a recipient of the FINA scholarship and a holder of 4 national records, this Malagasy stripling has decided to commit to more and wants to make his Olympic debut in the 100m breaststroke event.

Ronan Zuberg Wantenaar

(Namibia)

Ronan has been under the FINA program for 2 consecutive years now and in that time frame has improved considerably. After joining the center at Thanyapura for his second cycle and recent recovery from a shoulder injury, this breaststroke superstar did not let that hinder his performance in the water. Over the last few months, he has broken multiple national records at multiple different meets across the globe and is on path for his target to qualify for the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Clinton Opute

(Nigeria)

Clinton is one of the newest members on the team and has so far shown great potential. This 800m freestyle national record holder has quite a large pool of competitors up against him for a spot at international meets, and it is a great incentive for him while training here. Our Nigerian youngster is grateful to have the opportunity to train at a high-performance center and has set out targets to meet in this duration, which include competing for that spot (in the 50/100m freestyle) at the next Olympic Games in 2024.

Omar Abbass

(Syria)

Omar first joined the FINA program at Thanypura back in 2019, and was able to return for another year as of mid-2022. Due to the lack of opportunity to train in his home country, he has sought out the FINA center here in Thailand to help achieve his goals of making the Olympics and representing Syria. Holding __ national records, this Syrian submarine is looking to make massive waves leading up to the Paris Olympics.

Elisbet Gamez Matos

(Cuba)

Elisbet is one of our more seasoned swimmers under the program, having started her national representation in 2013. She has managed to sweep most of the freestyle records in both 25m and 50m pools. Having attended countless FINA World Championships and 2 Olympic Games, this FINA World-Cup bronze medalist says her work isn’t done and she has more goals to meet for the upcoming season. Despite the language barrier, she has felt welcomed and comfortable settling into Thanyapura and has found a liking to the coaches and team here.

Cedric Niyibizi

(Rwanda)

Cedric started off his FINA program with nothing but the clothes on his back and his travel documents in hand, but that didn’t stop him from getting into the pool on his first day. With the lack of facilities and access to a great swimming program back home, this Rwandan lad has flown across the globe to join the program with hopes to improve exponentially in his time here. After attending the FINA World Championships in 2019 (Gwangju) and 2021 (Abu Dhabi), he has committed to making his Olympic debut in Paris, 2024.

Enkhkhuslen Batbayar

(Mongolia)

Enkhkhulsen has recently joined the FINA programme and did not waste time in making waves at the Thanyapura facility. This Mongolian star-swimmer has a total of 22 national records under her belt as well as multiple representations at the FINA World Championships and 2021 Olympic Games. Her next goal is the Summer Olympics in Paris 2024, with hopes that this programme will help her reach her goal to qualify with a B-cut qualifying time.