Seychelles to host elite junior swimming competition in 2020
The FINA/Hosa Marathon Swim World Series event took place at the well-known beach of Beau Vallon in the northern side of the main island of Mahe. (Joena Meme)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles will become the fourth country in the world and the first one in Africa to host an elite junior swimming competition of the International Swimming Federation (FINA).
The island nation will host the World Junior Open Water swimming championships in 2020, an event is held every two years.
“This is another historical moment for Seychelles as we are pioneering open water not only in Seychelles but also in the African continent,” said David Vidot, the chairperson of the Seychelles Swimming Association.
Vidot told a news conference held recently that Seychelles won the bid to organise the event last year.
The FINA World Junior Open Water championship is an international swimming competition that brings together boys and girls between the age of 14 and 19, to race at the highest level.
Vidot said that the event will serve as an inspiration for our young swimmers as it will offer them the chance of a lifetime to swim in a world championship.
The Chief Executive of the National Sports Council, Jean Larue, said that “for the Council, it is an important moment as we are putting a lot of emphasis on the development of our youth.”
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is still in discussions with FINA to establish the exact date of the competition.
“At the moment, we are hoping to host it back to back with the world cup series as both events will be hosted at Beau Vallon. This will allow us to make the most out of our resources,” said Vidot.
It was added that the junior championship might be hosted during the week that follows the final race of the FINA/Hosa Marathon Swim World Series. There will be three age groups and three distances - 3km, 5km and 7.5km – in which participants will compete.
The junior championship is the second FINA event to be held in Seychelles after the country signed a four-year agreement to organise and host FINA/Hosa Marathon Swim World Series. Seychelles held the event for the first time in 2018 and the 2019 edition will take place on May 12.
Two Italians - Simone Ruffini and Arianna Bridi - came out as the winners of the men’s race and women’s, respectively in last year’s FINA/Hosa Marathon Swim World Series held in Seychelles.
Speaking at the press conference, Sherin Francis, the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB), said that as a faithful partner of the open water competitions, STB will give its support to the event. She added that such sports competitions provide a great boost to the tourism industry.
“Such big events are broadcast by major television channels and this is a way for people to indirectly discover the destination for the first time. We have noticed in the past that having international press cover such events has allowed us to receive more leverage and visibility as a small country with little resources,” said Francis.
She added that all stakeholders in the tourism industry stand to benefit from such an event.
Canada, Bulgaria and Israel have previously hosted the event.