Weightlifter Manine Lynch with sports administrator Regina Potini at the archaeological site of the Ancient Olympia in Greece in June. 18080815
In order for Cook Islands sports to move to the next level, there needs to be an emphasis on development of athletes through education, says young weightlifter Manine Lynch.
Lynch, who attended the International Olympic Academy 58th International Session for Young Participants event in Greece in June along with Regina Potini, said in a report that local athletes need to be educated on the Olympic movement and the values of “Olympism”.
In order to promote the Olympic Movement and the values of Olympism in the Cook Islands, she said educational strategies needed to be implemented in the sporting codes and the sporting platforms.
“If our athletes can gain a greater understanding of becoming positive moral exemplars in their sphere of influence, there will be a larger audience for them to influence in order to grow the values of Olympism in their sporting codes,” Lynch said.
“Education strategies could be implemented for athletes, sporting codes and federations and also the wider society such as the youth, adults and the elderly.”
Some of the education strategies that could help the development of local athletes were athlete interactions at educational programmes, education workshops and mentorship programme, Lynch said.
Workshops and presentations involving elite athletes could motivate young students interested in representing the Cook Islands to get involved in the different sporting codes the Cook Islands had to offer.
The education workshops targeting the athletes and sporting codes/federations can teach athletes and codes/federations the values of Olympism, including other topics athletes face such as pressure, mental and emotional stress, education on anti-doping, strategies on maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle and life after sport, she said.
The mentorship programme, which targets past, present and future elite athletes would involve past elite athletes giving advice and guiding present elite and upcoming athletes, she added.
“Since past elite athletes have the knowledge and experience, they can mentor present and future athletes as they have experienced similar situations.
“This can create a sense of community within our national federation as it gives both the past and present elite athletes a responsibility to influence and empower the future generation.”
Lynch said the 58th International Session for Young Participants also taught her strategies on how to develop positive role models in society and ways to implement the values of Olympism in the everyday lives.
“My life has been truly enriched from my experience at the International Olympic Academy, 58th Session for Young Participants.
“I hope to continue with the spirit of Olympism close to my heart and become more involved in the development of the youth with an aim to shape a brighter, peaceful and inclusive future.”