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May 5, 2016
Track and field stars visit Aspire Academy ahead of Diamond League

Michelle Carter, US shot putter and 2016 World Champion, David Oliver, US hurdler and 2013 World Champion, and Derek Drouin, Canadian high jumper and 2015 World Champion, take questions from the Aspire Academy student athletes in Doha on Wednesday. (Photo: QOC)
by Qatar Olympic Committee
DOHA, May 5, 2016 - Track field stars American shot putter Michelle Carter, American hurdler David Oliver, Canadian high jumper Derek Drouin on Wednesday visited the iconic Aspire Academy where they discussed sports with student athletes.

Michelle, the 2016 World Champion, Oliver, the 2013 World Champion and Drouin, World Champion last year, were welcomed at the Aspire Academy auditorium before moving out to other areas of the world's largest indoor sports facility.

The top athletes - who will be competing at the season's opening Diamond League leg at Qatar Sports Club Stadium on Friday – shared shared their experiences with Aspire Academy's student athletes during their visit.

After an engrossing panel discussion, Michelle, Oliver and Drouin were joined on stage by fellow Diamond League stars Asbel Kiprop, a Kenyan middle-distance runner and Olympic champion, and Belgian discus thrower Philip Milanov.

Later Kiprop, Milanov, Drouin and Oliver conducted a one-hour coaching clinic at the Indoor Athletics Track with the Academy’s student-athletes, where they tips for competition.

After the engaging session, the students also had the chance to take pictures with the official Diamond League trophy.

Michelle underlined the importance of not giving up during her time with the microphone.

“I finished second and third for a long time, but I did not quit. You have to be patient and work hard and some day it will pay off,” Michelle said while reflecting on her gold medal winning performance
in Portland in 2016.

Oliver said dealing with failures was an essential part of his growth as an athlete.

“I started with athletics to hang out with my friends, who were doing it. I tried triple jump, but I was very bad at it,” Oliver said about the start of his career.

“But I did not give up, went into hurdling and had a lot of success with it. But dealing with failures is part of being an athlete,” he added.

Drouin discussed his own strategy to deal with huge successes or disappointments.

“After wins or failures it’s sometimes good to have a short-term memory loss. That makes it easier to focus on the next competitions,” Drouin said.

There were many topics the student-athletes and their coaches wanted to know more about from the visiting athletes.

Asked about what qualities are required to be a successful world-class hurdler, Oliver said: “You have to take risks in any event in order to be successful. You have to be aggressive and accept that you will fall a lot.”

Being asked about the most significant person in her career, Michelle chose her father, a former NFL player and silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics in shot put.

“He is also my coach and having him behind me really helps me a lot. He always sees my potential and keeps pushing me to be the best. Sometimes they might hurt your feelings, but these people will help you to become better athletes,” Michelle said.

Markus Egger, Director of Sports, Prof. Tim Cable, Director of Sports Science and Jassem Al-Jaber, School Principal, thanked the guests on behalf of Aspire Academy for their visit.

Aspire Academy first opened its doors in 2004 and is considered to be one of the leading sports institutes in the Middle East.

The Academy offers an integrated educational programme of sports development, sports science and academic learning to boys aged 12 to 18.

Specifically, the Academy’s Athletics programme focuses on developing strong, fit and technically proficient athletes, who upon graduation will pursue their athletic talent as part of the Qatar Athletics Federation Junior and Senior National Teams.

Every student-athlete in the programme has a specific and structured long-term development plan that is focused on developing habits for a healthy life, achieving international standards, and representing Aspire Academy and Qatar at the international championship levels.

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