The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) has announced its unwavering support for Kenyan athletes aiming to participate in the Winter Youth Olympic Games through the New Horizon Academy Programme. This commitment comes following the launch of the program by the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation, an initiative dedicated to assisting athletes from developing nations or nations new to the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation, established by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism and Gangwon province, focuses on youth-oriented sports activities and the development of winter sports. It is responsible for managing three venues used during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games and aims to foster sports excellence and inclusivity, leading to the creation of the New Horizon Academy Programme.
The New Horizon Academy Programme, organized by the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation, will host a 14-day training camp from July 5th to 18th, 2023, in South Korea. Selected Kenyan athletes will have the opportunity to undergo valuable training and receive support to enhance their skills and prepare for the Winter Youth Olympic Games.
NOC-K, as the governing body for the Olympic Games in Kenya, recognizes the immense potential and dreams of young Kenyan athletes in winter sports. Notable Kenyan athletes who have participated in previous Winter Olympic Games, such as cross-country skier Phillip Boit and alpine skier Sabrina Wanjiku, have served as inspirations to many Kenyans around the world.
NOC-K firmly believes that the chance for Kenyan youngsters living abroad to represent their homeland is a golden opportunity. Regardless of their location, NOC-K is committed to providing support and logistical assistance to ensure that every Kenyan athlete has the opportunity to pursue their dreams and proudly represent Kenya.
The New Horizon Academy Programme perfectly aligns with NOC-K’s vision, as it offers young winter sports enthusiasts the necessary training, exposure, and cultural exchanges to realize their aspirations of competing in the Winter Youth Olympic Games and other international competitions. By participating in this program, athletes will gain valuable skills, experience, and contribute to the growth of winter sports in Kenya.
NOC-K is delighted to announce that two Kenyan athletes have been recommended and accepted to participate in the New Horizon Academy Programme. The selected athletes are Ashley Tshanda, a cross-country skier, and Issa Laborde, an alpine skier.
Ashley Tshanda, an exceptional talent in cross-country skiing, dreams of representing Kenya and raising her country’s flag at the Olympics and international ski competitions. She aims to become the first Kenyan female athlete to win a significant medal at the Olympics while promoting skiing in Kenya and inspiring young people through her achievements.
Issa Laborde, a 16-year-old aspiring alpine skier, demonstrated immense potential when NOC-K’s President, Dr. Tergat, met him while supporting Sabrina at the 2023 World Ski Championships. Despite limited training sessions affecting his performance compared to his peers, Issa remains determined to become a high-level athlete and contribute to the growing presence of Africans in winter sports. He seeks to share his sporting culture and life experiences for the benefit of elite athletes in Kenya.
Both Ashley and Issa have excelled in national and international ski competitions. Ashley, currently studying at the ISIS “Ingeborg Bachmann” International Ski College in Tarvisio, Italy, undergoes intensive daily training as part of her secondary school education. She has achieved success in numerous local, regional, and national ski competitions in Italy.
Francis Mutuku, Secretary General of NOC-K, emphasized the importance of providing opportunities for Kenyan youth to represent their country, regardless of their location. He stated, “Opportunities for training, such as the New Horizon Academy Programme, play a vital role in realizing the dreams of our young Winter sports enthusiasts.”
NOC-K extends its gratitude to the PyeongChang 2018 Legacy Foundation for organizing this remarkable program and providing Kenyan athletes with an invaluable opportunity. The collaboration between the two organizations is expected to propel Kenyan athletes toward their sporting goals and contribute to the growth and recognition of winter sports in Kenya.