The third training camp of the winter sports support project took place from 5 to 18 July 2023 in Pyeongchang, Gangwon State, North Korea.
38 African athletes were present at the training, in which NOC Kenya was participating for the first time, with experienced athletes based in Italy and France. Nigeria and Sierra Leone came with new athletes to this training camp, which followed on from the one held in December 2022. Two Egyptian athletes took part in short track skating, though under the banner of the Qatar Olympic Committee.
14 coaches and trainers also attended the training camp, which saw 10 extra places allocated to Africa.
Technically speaking, as with previous training camps, this one focused on a combination of sport-specific training, general and sport-specific fitness, Korean culture and anti-doping education.
Athletes underwent a physical test to determine their fitness. They were trained in the following sports: bobsleigh, skeleton, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, luge and snowboarding.
The final physical tests were carried out on 17 July 2023. Following these tests and other measures decided by the coaches, and based on the athletes’ performances, the following top athletes were identified as MVPs:
Remmide Hadil – Algeria
Marwen Mallek – Tunisia
Ahmed Abdelhamin Abdalla – Sudan
Beka Meded – Ethiopia
Marwen Mallek – Tunisia
Four African athletes were selected for the accelerated programme and invited to another training camp in February. They are Shobbona Dali (Lesotho), Jonathan Lourimi, Sophie Ghorbal and Beya Mokrani (Tunisia). They will be preparing for the ISBF Omega Youth Series in Lillehammer, Pyeongchang and Innsbruck, which are qualifying events for the Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games, to be held from 19 January to 1 February 2024. For this reason, there will be no training camp in December 2023.
At the opening ceremony, Dr Paul Tergat, President of NOC Kenya and IOC member, delivered an address on behalf of ANOCA President, the Honourable Mustapha Berraf, and later presented gifts to the Korean dignitaries in the presence of senior officials of the Pyeongchang Legacy Foundation, Gangwon State, and Pyeongchang County.
Giving his impressions later, Mustapha Berraf said: “We would like to thank the PyeongChang Legacy Foundation and Gangwon State for their support and contribution, thanks to which our athletes have participated in the training camp and the qualifiers.”
Later on, and in his characteristic manner, Mustapha Berraf sought to give honour to whom honour is due: “I would like to pay tribute once again to all those who have contributed to the success of this wonderful and worthy programme. Mr William Frederick BLICK is one of the sources of inspiration for this initiative. So is IOC President, my friend Dr Thomas BACH, who has been personally involved, and all ANOCA Executive Committee members, for their commitment to the implementation of this project. Let us continue, together in unity and solidarity, to build a strong and prosperous sporting Africa and a better world through the universality of our actions.”
ANOCA recommends that the NOCs include this programme in their planning and budgets. This will help develop winter sports in Africa.