British International School, Phuket: The aspiring athlete’s paradise
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British International School, Phuket: The aspiring athlete’s paradise

Though it’s widely known as one of the world’s dream study destinations, Phuket’s status as a major sporting centre is often overlooked. But with annual competitive events like the Ironman 70.3, the Laguna Phuket Triathlon and the Laguna Phuket Marathon attracting agile sportsmen and women from all four corners of the planet, this beautiful Thai island is an alluring utopia for any active hopeful.

This summer in fact, H.E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the country’s Minister for Tourism and Sports, unveiled a comprehensive plan to develop Thailand into a global sporting hub. “Thailand is entering a sports and tourism era, and I would like to invite the world to enjoy some of the many opportunities the kingdom can offer sport-loving tourists – whether you are enthusiastic amateurs, professionals or somewhere in between,” she said.

On top of being a school which its students don’t want to leave behind, the British International School, Phuket (BISP) leads aspiring young competitors from each and every continent. With five exceptional sports academies – in swimming, football, tennis, golf and the newly launched triathlon programme – and facilities to match, this 20-year-old school already has an impressive history of producing prominent athletes who compete at the highest level.

uploads_bisp-rpt-tennis-academy_25119678709_o  Image courtesy of BISP

BISP Swim Academy

Intent on nurturing talent and instilling a long-lasting ethic of hard work, the BISP Swim Academy, which recently won the Silver Award for Best Sports Youth Academy of the Year in Thailand, fosters an environment that breeds leading champions.

To date, the Academy boasts more than 12 swimmers who’ve represented for their countries at international swim competitions. Collectively they’ve broken more than 50 national and junior records for countries including Hungary, the Netherlands, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Namibia, Sri Lanka and the Seychelles. In a mere three-year existence, the BISP Swim Academy has already cemented its position as Asia’s top school swim team.

Training practices present the perfect blend of swimming and land training, using the latest techniques in swim program design. Coaching staff committed to working with each student on a personal level, working alongside athletes in order to attain a wide range of goals and objectives.

The School boasts two swimming pools, an Olympic-sized 50-metre outdoor pool and a 25-metre outdoor pool; both are utilised in all student lessons, as well as being training centres for BISP’s Flying Fish Swim Club, an extensive swimming programme organised by the school’s professionally coached swim team that includes 200 swimmers, and acts as a feeder for the academy squad.

As a testament to the School’s success in training swimming winners, BISP Swim Academy graduate and Thailand national swimmer Phiangkhwan Pawapotako is one example of a student building a sporting legacy alongside her world-class education. Not only did she compete for her home country for several consecutive years, but this year alone, she also brought home a staggering total of six gold medals, cementing her own and BISP’s reputation as a training ground for triumph.

BISP Cruzeiro Football Academy

The BISP Football Academy’s elite training programme is modelled on that of the multi-championship winning Cruzeiro club in Brazil. Running on a system that’s been proven to win and coached by staff who are experienced in the four pillars of football – technical, tactical, physical and psychological – the BISP Cruzeiro Football Academy is a must for lovers of The Beautiful Game.

Within its stunning 39-acre campus lie three 11-a-side football pitches, or eleven 7-a-side football pitches, giving BISP one of the largest football-centred school capacities in the Asia region. One of the school’s most popular student sporting events is the BISP Soccer 7s; a competition that seems to hit a record number of players each passing year. The last competition saw a total of 12 countries, 144 teams and 38 international schools compete, teaching all participants the value of hard-work and amicable sportsmanship.

As a reflection of the Academy’s progress in honing football talent, Pedro Haueisen, a young BISP student from Brazil, played for his country in the U12 Brazil National for the Danone Nations Cup and helped bring the title home, while graduate George Green was called up for the England schoolboys.

BISP RPT Tennis Academy

The aim of this distinguished Academy is to produce outstanding tennis players right in the heart of the school. Through a co-ordinated curriculum both during and out of hours, students benefit from first-rate coaching as they perfect their skills at the three covered courts in the BISP Tennis Centre.

Lee Austrin is Head Coach of the Academy, having previously represented his country, region and country as a junior tennis player. In his coaching role at BISP, he is known for fostering the Spanish methodology (RPT), which is arguably the best in the world for this sort of sport. It didn’t take long for him to become an ambassador for the RPT across England’s east coast, and has now tutored more than 50 coaches in the Spanish system.

And BISPs extensive list of athletic success continues with student James Van Herzeele, who is ranked number 1 in Belgium for under 14, as well as previously being ranked number 1 in Thailand for the boys single under 12. He continues to receive instruction from BISP’s experienced coaches, carving his name amongst the best in BISP’s well-established tennis tradition.

BISP Golf Academy

The BISP Golf Academy seeks to refine young golfing talent through a number of technical, mental, tactical and physical strategies. Promoting an environment that’s as inspiring as it is motivating, the Academy gives students the tools they need to fulfil their golfing aspirations.

Among the institution’s unparalleled sports facilities lies the on-site Golf Centre, which was opened by six-time Major winner Sir Nick Faldo in March 2016. It consists of two large greens (USGA specification), bunkers, varying lengths of rough and a real variety of the type of undulating lies often encountered on course. The school aims to hone student talent from a young age via a range of skills, fitness and mental training programs in state-of-the-art facilities.

BISP student Mark Luangnitikul tells another tale of BISP’s sports success, winning the 2015 Singha Thailand Junior World Golf Championship following a triumphant training schedule. Another school success lies with Napat ‘Toy’ Paramacharoenroj, who made an outstanding recovery from a pretty disheartening start in the inaugural Faldo Series Thailand Championship 2016, clinching victory at last in this respected sporting event.

BISP Triathlon Academy

The school’s distinguished triathlon programme is committed to creating strong, smart athletes who are equally capable in the discipline of swimming, cycling and running. This renowned and complex sport requires balance, endurance and strength of equal measure, and BISP’s experienced coaches encourage all triathletes to thrive – whether that be through prestigious college scholarships, professional careers, or some other sporting dream.

On top of this, BISP’s warm and contemporary boarding facilities mean students can live, learn and train on school grounds, making the most of its unrivalled facilities. This, paired with BISP’s ability to work in partnership with leading sports clubs on a global scale, forging invaluable pathways to professional sport or university and college scholarships, and its location on Phuket, is why the British International School, Phuket will continue to be the junior training athlete’s paradise.

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Feature image courtesy of BISP

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