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ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado, along with ITU Executive Board Member General Ahmed Nasser and ITU Sport Development Manager Zita Csovelyak, recently visited the International Olympic Committee's Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Zambia.
ITU President Marisol Casado and OYDC director "I was very impressed with the OYDC and its management team," Casado said. "Growing the sport of triathlon on the continent of Africa is a big priority for us. Holding a World Triathlon Series race in Africa for the first time ever this year will undoubtedly help spur growth. However, we have to go a step further to provide our young athletes with training opportunities, which is exactly what the Centre offers."
The OYDC, created by the IOC and supported by International Federations, is designed to allow young athletes to train in state of the art facilities. This is the first trip ITU has made to visit the Centre, with hopes ITU could join the project to continue furthering its African development goals.
"We are so grateful and honored with the visit of the ITU President," said OYDC Director Clement Chileshe. "The Centre has been visited by only a few International Federations since its inauguration in 2010. The presence of an IF helps tremendously in having the OYDC recognized. We would be delighted if we could add triathlon as a sport to the OYDC sport programmes."
ITU President Marisol Casado and Zambia NOC President In addition to touring the facilities, ITU met with Zambia's National Olympic Committee President Miriam Moyo. The NOC, like ITU, is one of few Olympic sports federations to feature women in both its President and Secretary General positions. ITU also met with the Zambia Sports Council to explore the possibility of starting a triathlon National Federation in Zambia, which will be the next necessary step to adding triathlon as a sport at the OYDC.
"I was amazed with the OYDC in Lusaka," General Nasser said. "I am sure triathlon will be one of the biggest sports in Zambia because everyone we spoke with was very interested. As the African Triathlon Union President, I am very proud of the Centre and am thankful to the IOC for having created it. We hope more like it can be created."