By Paula Kim on 01/02/11 at 11:54 pm
A few weeks ago, ITU Scholarship athlete Leonardo Chacon and his coach Roberto Solano trained with a group of promising triathletes, as part of Chacon’s involvement with ITU’s Development programme. In all, 12 athletes trained together from 5-21 January in Cartago in Costa Rica, located in the valley next to Irazú Volcano.
“It is very heart warming to see young athletes like Leonardo giving back to his fellow athletes to ensure the lessons he has learnt from coaches and projects that form part of the ITU Development programme spread to more than just his own athletic career,” said Libby Burrell, Director of Development at ITU.
Some of the athletes shared their experience and what it meant to train as a group:
Leonardo Chacon (Costa Rica):
Throughout my journey with Team ITU Sport Development, I have had the privilege to absorb and share values this great programme uses as the way to impact developing countries. Team work and determination are my pillars.
Looking back at my first days in triathlon, team work has become a key aspect in my athlete career and daily interaction with others. Companionship and its social reason is the engine of me and my coach, Roberto Solano. It is what leads us to help and organize training camps in Costa Rica.
We see training camps as an instrument to give Latin American athletes the chance to develop their talents. Even though we of lack of high level infrastructure, every day we work hard and dream that someday we’ll have a Latin American training group and a full training season in developing countries. The goal is that each athlete takes hold of the all the benefits from a high level training group.
Thanks to ITU for showing us that not everything has to be used for our own benefit; that transcending further and reaching all positive values can change societies and should lead us to greatness.
Our training camp with athletes from Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Ecuador and Costa Rica has been the beginning of this endless and highest dream. Thanks ITU!!!
Alia Cardinale (Costa Rica):
Being at home and sharing with all these athletes was the best. It was a great group and great coach, what else do you need? Always learning and having fun, the triathletes in Latin America have something special because we are like a big family, so this camp was an example of that. It doesn’t matter from where you come, you always can help someone else and in the end everyone wins.
Fabian Flores (Guatemala):
Being part of this “Latin-American Team” is unique for multiple reasons, beginning with the fact that we are working and training all together to be stronger and have the chance to compare and compete against the best triathletes in the world. It is also very motivational, since we have already organized more training camps, and to see each other in competitions, which creates a nice environment in the group. This Team opens a lot of new opportunities since we are athletes from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala.
This team wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Roberto Solano, who started this with Leo (Chacon). Since the first day Roberto has been enthusiastic and motivating us and always available to help and to give us good advice. I am proud to be part of this “Latin American Team” and I am thankful for this great opportunity.
Ana Jiménez (Puerto Rico):
This camp was a wonderful experience because I had the opportunity to spend time with different Latin-American triathletes. Thanks to this camp and Roberto, I was able to learn more about triathlon and how to develop my sporting life. I had the chance to be part of this special group and it helped us all learn from one another. This is something that I will always treasure.
Fabian Roman (Puerto Rico):
To be part of a group of people who share the same passion and share the same language is truly satisfying. I really enjoy training and being part of a Latin-American group of triathletes. We were all able to share our ideas and learn from each other in the training camp we formed in Costa Rica.
This camp was one of the best experiences I have ever had in this wonderful sport. I had the opportunity to witness how different cultures were really so alike. Thanks to Roberto and everyone in the group I have the motivation to train harder every day and try to become a better triathlete.
The team is planning to do their first altitude camp of the year starting February 10th.
“This also provides another excellent example of the long term and far reaching impact these ITU programmes have and more than justifies the investment ITU makes in athlete and coach development globally,” said Burrell.