Tunisians Embrace Triathlon With New National Federation
18 July 2007
SFAX, Tunisia - Tunisia is set to embrace the world’s youngest Olympic sport with the establishment of the country’s first official national federation for triathlon. The Association Sportive de Triathlon (AST) has been created by BG Tunisia in co-operation with the International Triathlon Union (ITU), their global partner BG Group and Tunisia’s Ministry of Sports and Youth. The development of AST directly meets one of the ITU Sport Development Programme’s key mandates to increase the number of national federations in ITU over the next 8 years.
The new non-profit organisation will play a major role in providing opportunities for Tunisians of all ages to participate in triathlon from novice through to Olympic levels. The foundations of AST were initially created in November 2006 and the triathlon federation is now in full operation at its new home at the Sfax Sports University. To mark the organisation’s launch, the first under 23 triathlon training camp is underway from 7 to 14 July, involving 25 athletes and 7 coaches from across Tunisia.
Abdelbacet Abdouli, President of AST, who also works for BG Tunisia, said:
“This is a really exciting day for sport in Tunisia. We have adopted one of the fastest growing sports and it’s really exciting to think of the opportunities this can create for our country from grassroots to elite levels.
“Already we can see from this training camp that Tunisia has a wealth of sporting talent. With the help of BG Tunisia and our other partners, we can create new Olympic stars and provide better sporting opportunities for our communities.”
Mohamed Zribi, Tunisia Sports General Manager, Ministry of Sports and Youth, Tunis, said:
“AST shares our objectives to promote active lifestyles and the achievement of inspirational goals through sport. We are delighted that they will be working closely together as part of our ‘Sport for all’ structure.”
AST has already established its first triathlon club called Sfax Tri Club with 40 athletes ranging from between 12 and 33 years of age. BG Tunisia has provided office and sports equipment and many of their employees have volunteered time to support the club’s development. At an elite level, progress is also being made with ITU and BG Group offering direct support to some of Tunisia’s most talented coaches and athletes. Two coaches have already attended the ITU Level 1 Coaching Course in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and some athletes will have the opportunity to attend the Africa Continental Development Camp at the end of this year.
Abdelbacet Abdouli has planned a busy year for AST, with athletes competing in the ITU Triathlon African Cup events in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Plans are also underway to open the
first Triathlon School and hold the first Tunisian Triathlon Championships in September.
Libby Burrell, Director, ITU Sport Development, said:
“Tunisia is the first new national federation to be developed as part of our global sport development programme with BG Group. We are delighted that they have made such progress and that so many young Tunisians are already actively participating in triathlon events.”