Athletics: As part of an effort to get athletes ready for life after sports, an athlete career programme was conducted in Thimphu, yesterday.
Around 30 athletes, comprising students and recent graduates, were briefed by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) instructor on understanding and committing to a career development process, finding their strengths and passions, devising a plan for success and putting it into action.
The instructor, who is the chair of the IOC Athletes committee, Claudia Bokel, said the basis of the one-day programme was to let athletes know that they can participate in sports but also succeed in life after sports, and that it is possible to combine sports and academics.
One of the functions of the IOC Athletes committee is advising athletes to ensure they do not concentrate solely in one area. She said that when athletes are advised to concentrate only on obtaining an education, the committee would point to the athlete that sports also provides a learning ground for many of life’s lesson or if an athlete is only concentrating on sports, then advise to not neglect academics would be provided.
Claudia Bokel pointed out that the transition to life after sports is a problem globally. “It’s a major problem because athletes obviously spend a lot of time doing sports, usually they start working in the market a little bit later, or they’ve to combine sports and work,” she said.
She added that it is important that not only athletes but education institutions and employers also are aware of how athletics is an added value. “So they understand that the life of an athlete is a special one,” she said.
In developing countries, Claudia Bokel said, the main challenges was usually lack of awareness and solutions not being in place.
The Athletes Commission chair, Sonam Thinley, said such a programme was being held in Bhutan for the first time. He said the programme, besides also raising awareness among athletes, was for the IOC to know that such a commission existed in Bhutan.
The commission is a recent establishment and will address the issues of athletes.
School student Sangay Wangmo, 16, who is a sprinter, said that the programme had taught her that it is important to find where her strengths lie.
Recent graduate, Chimi Wangchuk, 22, who is a taekwondo martial artist, said that he had learned that establishing goals and working towards them are important.
The programme was organised by the Athletes commission of Bhutan, which is an apolitical consultative body of the Bhutan Olympic Committee.
By Gyalsten K Dorji