World Triathlon lauds OCA on development camp and hopes it will boost health of sport in Asia


Kampar, Malaysia, July 11, 2024: World Triathlon has expressed concern for the health of the sport in Asia and hopes the first steps for greater representation at future Olympic Games will be taken in the backwater town of Kampar in Malaysia over the next few days.


“We are worried about the standards of triathlon in Asia and hope this week we will be laying the foundation for the growth of the sport in the continent. Having an event like this is beneficial and all credit to the Olympic Council of Asia for organising it,” noted Vicent Beltran, World Triathlon development officer.


Beltran is leading a team of World Triathlon and Asian Triathlon officials at the inaugural Olympic Council of Asia Triathlon Youth Development Camp in the provincial city of Kampar, 200 kilometres from the capital Kuala Lumpur.


A total of 25 National Olympic Committees from Asia have sent 73 athletes and coaches for the eight-day residential camp which began on Wednesday, July 10. The 48 athletes, both boys and girls, are aged between 14 and 17 years, and represent the future of the sport in the continent.


“The short-term goal for these athletes are the 2026 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal, while the longer term goal is the next two Olympic Games – LA28 and 2032 in Brisbane,” Beltran revealed.


“Our main goal here is to help raise the levels of the coaches, as well as the training of this band of athletes, who over the next few years will be in their prime as they look at the dream of becoming Olympians,” he added.


At this month’s Paris Olympics, Asia will only be represented by six athletes: three from Japan, and one each from Hong Kong China, China and Kazakhstan. This was the same number at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In Rio 2016, Asia had seven athletes in triathlon.


“The numbers are low from Asia. I hope programmes like this initiated by the Olympic Council of Asia, will help boost numbers in the future,” said Beltran. 


“In the bigger picture, however, our main concern is mass participation in the sport across Asia. Only a few will reach the elite level and qualify for an Olympics, but we want more numbers across all age groups and both genders taking up the sport.”


A total of 110 athletes – 55 men and 55 women – compete in the Olympics in triathlon. Apart from the hosts France, who were awarded two spots per gender, and one each from the continents, the rest had to qualify for Paris.


In addition there is a mixed team relay event – started in Tokyo 2020 – in Paris. Asia will not have any representation in this mixed event as they don’t have the numbers to put forward two men and two women from a country.


Beltran is hopeful all this will change in the future – thanks to this camp in Kampar.


The OCA is represented this week by Jeans Zhou Jian, Director of Media and TV Broadcasting, and Wissam Trkmani, Special Projects/Olympic Solidarity Manager.