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Mahmoud Elkhalifa from Sudan, and Areneo David from Malawi received an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship to train for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the World Archery Excellence Centre in Lausanne.

Through the Olympic Scholarships for Athletes program, Olympic Solidarity (OS) offers National Olympic Committees (NOCs) the possibility for their athletes to receive training assistance at an International Training Centre with which OS has a service agreement. The objective of this specific program is to support athletes in their preparation to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games, and if qualified, train them for a successful participation.

At the end of 2017, the World Archery Excellence Centre and Olympic Solidarity signed an agreement where the Excellence Centre became an option for NOCs to support archers with talent and lack of training facilities in their own country. For the first time, the WAEC is hosting two athletes with an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship, Mr Elkhalifa and Mr David. These archers will train full time at the World Archery Excellence Centre under the direction of head Coach, Kyeong Su Jeoung (KOR), until 2020.

Twenty-three-year-old recurve archer Areneo David, who became the first archer to represent Malawi at the 2016 Rio Games said, “The Centre is very nice and beautiful. Here, everything is different from my country. Thanks to Coach Kyeong Su Jeoung, I will get more skills and improve my shooting technique. I will have to work hard to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games and this is what I will do to achieve my dream. I’m also excited with the opportunity to learn English and French during the time I will be here.”

Mahmoud Elkhalifa has won several gold medals at national level and has achieved good rankings at international events. He is very happy to be in Switzerland.

“The first time I came here, I looked at the place and I thought it was awesome. This is every archer’s dream. You can shoot 70 metres indoors and outdoors just a few meters apart when needed. This is something you don’t have everywhere. I want to live here forever!”

Mahmoud would like to improve his shooting form with Coach Kyeong Su’s help and qualify for Tokyo in 2020. “This time it is going to be a bit tougher because the score we need to achieve has increased from 632 for Rio to 640 points for Tokyo. Now that we are training here at the Excellence Centre, I think it will be possible to achieve.

With good quality training and the Excellence Centre’s top-level facilities, the athletes are focused on reaching the top of the podium of the African Championships in 2019, which will allow them to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Coach Kyeong Su Jeoung asked the athletes how frequently they were practicing, how many arrows they shot per year and their best scores in competition? He said “This information enabled me to know their level and create an individualized plan for each of them. At the moment, we are working on their strength which will allow me to improve their basic technique. It has been almost two weeks since they started training in Lausanne and they have already improved a lot.

When archers have not had consistent or individualized coaching before, and begin to receive daily direction and attention, their entire attitude changes into very motivated and happy athletes that are open and receptive to instruction.”

Mahmoud Elkhalifa said “Back in my country, we don’t have a coach with such a high level of skills. I have attended only one training camp in Bangkok for two weeks, so this is my first time having an individual coach for me. It is something really, really, great. At home, I was coaching myself using mirrors and cameras. Training with Coach Kyeong Su will make a huge difference in me. For a long time, I have been thinking I can make it, but now I am convinced I can qualify with the help of Kyeong Su. I like the way he coaches us, and how he treats us.”

For more information, please contact the Excellence Centre’s team via email at info@worldarcherycentre.org or +41 21 612 20 60