The young Brazilians from disadvantaged backgrounds are spending the week receiving specialised coaching and sport science testing to support their journeys to becoming Brazil’s future athletics stars.
For many of the athletes, it is the first time that they have left Brazil and training at Qatar’s state-of-the-art facilities with the Aspire Academy’s athletics specialists is providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“This is one of the biggest and best experiences in my life because I’m studying sport science in addition to being an athlete,” said 20-year-old sprinter Rayneson Pereira Silva. “So being here and seeing the facilities is a very good experience with great learnings.”
Travelling to an alien part of the world is providing the opportunity for the athletes to experience a completely different culture and benefit from the training camp in more ways than just sport, with cultural visits around Qatar also featuring as part of their programme.
“I expected people to be more reserved but everyone has been very friendly. What I like the most about Qatar is that everyone speaks about their culture and they’re very proud of it,” added Silva.
Commenting on the Shine project, Secretary General of the QOC, Dr Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari, said: “Through Shine, we were determined to spread the Olympic spirit and give these young Brazilian athletes a sporting, educational and cultural experience that will have a deep impact on their future lives.
“The last time I saw them was when we welcomed them to Bayt Qatar, our hospitality house at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and showed them what they would experience when they visited Qatar. It is wonderful to see them here in Doha enjoying our facilities, culture, and passion for sport first-hand and to watch how our Shine project has come to life. I hope to welcome many of them back here again for the World Championships in 2019.”
The Shine project is the QOC’s Rio 2016 legacy project and was established to leave a meaningful impact on the lives of Brazil’s talented young athletes.
The project is a partnership between the QOC, Aspire Academy, Qatar Athletics Federation, Rio de Janeiro Athletics Federation and Futuro Olimpico, an NGO founded by Brazilian Olympic bronze medallist, Arnaldo de Oliveira – who has attended the training camp with the athletes and plans to apply his own learnings to his coaching when he returns to Brazil.
Speaking about the experience, Arnaldo said: “This is the best thing that these athletes have ever experienced and they are very thankful for it.
“The athletes have a lot to gain from training at Aspire Academy, from the facilities and the expertise. We’ll take the methodology that we learn here and apply it to our trainings in Brazil.
“The facilities here are really amazing. Unfortunately we don’t have the same infrastructure in Brazil so we’ll utilise our experience and take our learnings back to Brazil”.
Beautiful Romance and Red Galileo provide Godolphin with strong representation in the 14-furlong G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy (20.50hrs local time) on turf at this week’s Dubai World Cup Carnival fixture at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, February 23.
Five-year-old mare Beautiful Romance (Oisin Murphy) makes her Carnival debut following two fine efforts in Australia at the end of last year, including when getting up on the line to win the 12-furlong G2 Zipping Classic at Sandown in November.
The daughter of New Approach finished seventh in the G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup over two miles at Flemington earlier the same month.
Red Galileo (Adrie de Vries), a six-year-old by Dubawi, has made two handicap appearances at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, gamely scoring by a neck in a 14-furlong contest on January 12 following a long layoff and staying on well to take third over two miles on February 2.
The Godolphin runners face seven rivals in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy headed by dual French G1 scorer Vazirabad.
Saeed bin Suroor, who trains both, commented: “Beautiful Romance ran a big race on her latest start out in Australia and has done well since travelling back to Dubai.
“She looks to be in good form at the moment and this distance will suit her.
“Red Galileo has won over this trip already this season. He has been training nicely and I am looking for another good run from him.”
Also on Thursday’s card, Listed UAE 1000 Guineas seventh Calare (William Buick) continues on dirt for the G3 UAE Oaks over nine and a half furlongs (20.15 hrs).
The daughter of Dubawi, the comfortable winner of a turf Listed race in Ireland last season, takes on eight other three-year-old fillies including the first three home in the UAE 1000 Guineas – Nashmiah, Nomorerichblondes and Rajar.
Her trainer Charlie Appleby reported: “Calare has a bit to find with the fillies that finished in front of her in the UAE 1000 Guineas but she won a Listed race over a stiff mile last year and I am hoping that the step up in trip will see an improved performance.”
Really Special was fifth in the UAE 1000 Guineas and the Shamardal filly, a Newmarket Listed winner last season, returns to turf for the seven-furlong Meydan Classic (19.05hrs).
She is joined in the Listed race by Meydan Classic Trial winner Top Score and Fly At Dawn, who was successful in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial but missed the Guineas itself with a minor mouth injury.
Recent 10-furlong dirt handicap scorer Alabaster attempts to follow up over the same course and distance in the Listed Curlin Handicap (21.25hrs), which also features lightly-raced six-year-old Memorial Day.
Bravo Zolo has also been in winning form at the 2017 Carnival, having readily taken a mile handicap on February 11, and the five-year-old is joined by Steady Pace in the Al Naboodah KAESER Compressor Trophy Handicap (22.00hrs) over seven furlongs on turf.
Four Godolphin runners in the 10-furlong Al Naboodah Harley-Davidson Trophy Handicap (19.40hrs) on turf include Classic Collection, who won a Meydan handicap over a furlong shorter on January 28, plus Viren’s Army, Kidmenever and Huge Future.
It’s rare enough for a family to have two Olympic medal winners, if at all.
To have two win the gold and silver in the same event at the same Olympics is unheard of, but that’s what brothers Phil and Steve Mahre accomplished to close out the 1984 Games in Sarajevo on this day 33 years ago.
The American twins captured the top two spots on the podium, with Phil earning gold after Steve relinquished a lead late with a series of mistakes.
Adding to the celebration, Phil found out in a TV interview after the race that his wife Holly had given birth to their second child in Arizona earlier.
To say it was a memorable day for the Mahre family would be an understatement.
Other memorable events that took place on this day
1928: The second edition of the Winter Olympics close in St. Moritz.
1996: UEFA scraps its restrictions on the number of foreign players appearing in European competitions.
2010: Tiger Woods issues an apology to wife Elin in his first public appearance since a car crash.
2006: The Eastern Conference beats the West 122-120 in Houston at the 55th NBA All-Star Game.