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Pho3nix Athlete Program sends 25 Athletes to Tokyo

July 12, 2021

The Pho3nix Athlete Program aims to give assistance to underfunded athletes in their pursuit of Olympic qualification.

The Pho3nix Foundation is proud to announce 25 athletes from the Pho3nix Athlete Program have qualified for the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, out of a total intake of 39 athletes from 18 countries across six continents competing in 20 disciplines.

The Pho3nix Athlete Program aims to give assistance to underfunded athletes in their pursuit of Olympic qualification. Many aspiring to get to the Olympics still struggle for sufficient funding to allow them to compete on a level playing field. Especially with the Games’ one-year delay, the Pho3nix Foundation’s pledge of €8,000 for each member of the Athlete Program went a long way to support their travel, training, equipment, and competition expenses.

For athletes like swimmer Murielle Rabarijaona, this spelled the difference in her preparation for the Games. Thanks to the Foundation’s support, she was able to extend her training stint overseas throughout the past year instead of having to return home to Madagascar where she could only swim seven months of the year due to limited facilities.

Many of these athletes are also trailblazers representing their nation for the first time in certain sports: Felix Duchampt is the first Romanian to compete in triathlon, while Janika Loiv is the first female Estonian cyclist. Others are competing in their sport’s Olympic debut, like sport climber Aleksandra Miroslav (POL), skateboarder Margielyn Didal (PHI), and surfer Billy Stairmand (NZL).

As the days count down toward the opening ceremonies and the Olympic torch arriving in Tokyo, these athletes will set sport’s biggest stage alight, exemplifying the Pho3nix ethos: rising above circumstance to reach for their dreams and inspire the next generation. The Pho3nix Foundation is honoured to partner with them on their journey to Tokyo.

The Pho3nix Foundation will soon announce applications for Athlete Program assistance leading into the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

For more information on the Pho3nix Athlete Program contact:

Lisa Pringle
Head of Communications
Mana Sports and Entertainment Group
Lisa.Pringle@manaseg.com

Appendix: Athlete Bios

INTERNATIONAL
First nameLast nameAgeCountrySportBio
FelixDuChampt31RomaniaTriathlonTriathlete Felix DuChampt has travelled a hard road. Continually overlooked for French national selection, DuChampt was often told as a teenager that he didn’t have what it took to make the Olympic Games. So, as a dual citizen he made the hard choice to switch to Romania, a nation without the program or funding and who has never sent a triathlete to the Olympics, but with which he might blaze his own trail. Felix has gone into debt to finance his travel and training, and has no formal coach, instead studying the sport to coach himself. With the support of the Pho3nix Foundation, Felix DuChampt will break new ground for his sport, his nation and the next generation of Romanian endurance athletes at Tokyo2021.
AlexLimberg19South AfricaBMX cyclingAt 19 years old, South African BMX rider Alex Limberg came agonisingly close to achieving his dream of representing his country at the Rio Olympic Games. To do so would have been the fulfillment of a dream against all odds. First arriving at a BMX track with his father as a shy kid looking to make friends in a new place, he has overcome many hurdles. These include the perceived limits of his small physique, a severe lack of suitable facilities and funding, as well as injury issues and the pressures of having to work a 9-5 job to rise to champion of South Africa. Now, four years after the disappointment of Rio, Alex is set to finally live his dream in Tokyo.
SkyeNicolson26AustraliaBoxingAustralian boxer Skye Nicolson is paving the way for female boxing down under. The reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallist has always focused on being a positive role model for young girls in a male dominated sport. The 25-year-old featherweight is headed to Tokyo and will carry the legacy of her late brother Jamie, who competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and with whom she shares a unique boxing style despite his tragic passing a year before Skye was born.
JoanPoh29SingaporeRowingWhen COVID 19 hit Singapore, rower Joan Poh overcame the disappointment of a delayed Olympic Games and instead decided to give back, swapping her rowing oars for hospital scrubs and returning to her job as a nurse to assist in her nation’s response to the pandemic. Balancing the demands of her job with training, Poh also coaches a group of aspiring rowers as she looks to leave a legacy in what is a minor sport in Singapore – Poh is just the second Singaporean rower to compete at the Games.
MurielleRabarijaona23MadagascarSwimmingMurielle Rabarijaona already holds an incredible eight Malagasy national records. After learning to swim in her native Madagascar, where she could only swim seven months of the year and for a maximum of two hours a day, she now trains in Thailand under specialist coaching with the support of the Pho3nix Foundation. Fresh from beating her own 100m freestyle record in March, 2021, Murielle will carry the hopes of her family, community and her entire island nation when she arrives in Tokyo.
MargielynDidal22PhilippinesSkateboardingFrom skateboarding in the streets of Cebu at the age of 12 to winning gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games and 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Margielyn Didal now has her sights on winning the first ever gold medal for skateboarding at the Olympics.

 

One of the few Olympic hopefuls from the Philippines, Margie successfully campaigned for and helped design a skatepark facility where she and the national team can train for competitions in the US and Europe before they head to Tokyo. Her meteoric rise has raised the profile of skateboarding not just in her home country, but for the entire region as she continues to lead the way.

BillyStairmand30New ZealandSurfingBilly Stairmand started surfing at the age of 9 and won his first national scholastics in New Zealand at the age of 13. However, his path to sporting success took a detour with the devastating loss of his mum four years ago. But winners always find a way to come back. The 8-time national champion turned his mindset and performances around to qualify and make history as the sport of surfing debuts at the Olympic Games.
JanikaLoiv32EstoniaCycling (Mountain Bike)Five years ago, Janika Loiv believed she could become the first Estonian female Olympic Mountain bike cyclist — and then worked to make that a reality. As a latecomer to the sport, no one took her seriously despite her athletic background as a high school long-distance runner and a serious competitor in the local races. So, she created her own system: she moved to Spain with her husband and hired a coach, working freelance graphic design to fund her training. Olympic qualification achieved, she wants to do more than just that: this three-time national champion and UCI world ranked number 5 wants to win a medal.
YasminGiger22SwitzerlandAthletics

(400m Hurdles)

Yasmin Giger is competing in her first Olympic Games. The 2017 European U20 champion started out racing against her brother and took on their village sprint. One thing led to another and she found herself in the national final, where she made the podium. From there she was scouted for further development, with stints in heptathlon as well as winning silver for Switzerland in the 400m sprint at the 2015 European Youth Olympics.
LeniShida27UgandaAthletics (400m)Multiple national champion Shida Leni wants to make history for Uganda by becoming its first female Olympic medalist. Already the first female Ugandan sprinter to compete internationally (she debuted in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow), in 2018 she broke a 12-year national record for the 400m and proceeded to better that mark six more times in the span of a year. She also owns the national record for the 200m.

 

POLAND
First nameLast nameAgeSportBio
SandraDrabik32BoxingSandra Drabik’s road to Tokyo qualification was interrupted with the cancellation of her last fight. Much like in professional boxing, Sandra knows the opponents that await her, so this world and European champion knows exactly what she needs to do to triumph in Tokyo.
JanekKozakiewicz24SwimmingJan Kozakiewicz is not a typical athlete, balancing training with jobs as a theatre actor and flight controller. He lives life with passion and treats sport as a journey and source of inspiration. Despite having much less training volume, Jan holds the Polish record in freestyle and is one of the main candidates for the relay in Tokyo.
AnnaMaliszewska27Modern PentathlonDespite very demanding training volumes in her chosen sport, Anna Maliszewska has pursued her passion from a very young age and has balanced it with education (SGH Warsaw School of Economics) and music. Anna is a two-time world champion and came 18th at the Rio Olympic Games.
AleksandraMiroslaw26Sport ClimbingAleksandra Miroslaw is one of the most successful athletes in the world of sport climbing, which makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. In ‘sprint’ she is double World Champion, making her a strong candidate for a medal.
DariaPikulik23Track CyclingThis junior world champion is known as a relentless fighter. Despite being seriously injured in a world championship race, Daria Pikulik has secured a place in Tokyo. This Olympic Games won’t be her first, and she definitely won’t be going there just for the experience.
BartłomiejStój24DiscusBart Stój is a junior team European champion and competes for a place within an already-strong team. To qualify for the Olympics he outpaces two older, more experienced athletes. He is a great example that physical barriers in sport do not exist, and choosing the appropriate discipline is just as important.
KacperStokowski21SwimmingOne of the most talented youth swimmers, Kacper Stokowski holds a junior world record and has already fulfilled the Olympic minimum standard. By training in the United States, Kacper was able to compete in Olympic qualification tournaments with support from the Pho3nix Foundation.
PawelWiesiolek29DecathlonPawel Wiesiolek’s place in official Tokyo Olympic Games qualifications is confirmed. His top career success (3rd place in Indoor Europe Championship) was achieved around the same time as his qualification to join Pho3nix Foundation’s athlete program. His hard work proves that self-belief and consistency in your craft lead to the highest achievements.
KlaudiaZwolinska22Slalom CanoeingThis junior European champion, junior world vice-champion, and U23 world vice-champion is also passionate about teaching children. Aside from professional sport, Klaudia Zwolinska studies Education.
RadoslawKawecki29SwimmingOne of the best Polish swimmers, Radoslaw Kawecki is involved in multiple social support events and engaged with many charity organizations around the world. The Tokyo Olympic Games will be his 4th Olympic appearance in a long and illustrious career.
AdriannaSulek21Athletics/ HeptathlonAdrianna Sulek competes in 100m and 60m hurdles, heptathlon, and high jump. Even at her young age, this junior world bronze medalist is recognized as a great role model for young women in Poland.
DominikaKossakowska20SwimmingFrom a very young age Dominika Kossakowska knew what she wanted. She competes in a variety of events (200m freestyle, 200m obstacle swim, 4×100 m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle mixed, 4×200 m freestyle, 4x50m medley relay and 4x50m obstacle relay) ensuring her place at the Tokyo Olympics.
MartynaGalant25AthleticsThe U23 European bronze medalist, Martyna Galant specializes in the 1500 meters but also competes over the 800 meters.
JustynaKiryla26Tandem CyclingAleksandra Teclaw is a guide for blinded cyclist Justyna Kiryla. With the Pho3nix Foundation’s support, both athletes will compete on a professional tandem bike – a far cry from their beginnings riding a handmade one. These vice world champions and Rio gold medalists are medal favorites for Tokyo.
AleksandraTeclaw34