A trial camp took place in Fukuoka earlier this year ©ONOC

Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) members have been encouraged to make the most of the opportunity presented through training camps in the Japanese prefecture Fukuoka.

A presentation was given to ONOC members at last year’s General Assembly, which led to an inspection of the facilities by several National Olympic Committees last May.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in December with Fukuoka, along with the Japanese Olympic Committee, Fukuoka Prefecture, Yanagawa City, Miyama City, Miyako Town and Chikujo Town.

A trial camp took place earlier this year with the aim to test the programme, accommodation and travel in preparation for larger camps.

Use of Fukuoka’s training facilities and coaches to help train ONOC athletes and achieve an international exchange through sport were also highlighted as key goals.

The camp took place from February 25 to March 16, consisting of two judo athletes and seven wrestlers.

Proposals for camps later this year have been given to ONOC, who have called on their NOCs to take up the opportunity.

“We have been working on this project for quite some time,” said Ricardo Blas, ONOC secretary general.

“There is constant contact between us and Fukuoka.

“It will be first come, first serve.

“You need to assess your athlete and we help you do that, so we can ensure they can make the most of the programme that Fukuoka is providing.

“They want to keep the athletes busy and as Oceania, the environment of Japan is very different.

“It is a great opportunity to take our young athletes into their environment and understand how to prepare themselves for the next year and a half in preparation for Tokyo 2020.”

Cultural exchanges was cited as a benefit of the camps, as well as training ©ONOC
Cultural exchanges was cited as a benefit of the camps, as well as training ©ONOC

Blas also highlighted that athletes who took part in the trial camp have already achieved strong results.

Athletics, judo, swimming, weightlifting and wrestling have been proposed as sports for the training camps.

It is expected that the number of 15 athletes from athletics would be included for the sport’s training camp, which is earmarked to take place from September 4 to October 1.

Wrestling and weightlifting camps are expected to take place from September 5 to 26, with five athletes coming from both sports.

Five athletes are also anticipated to come from both swimming and judo, with their camps due to be from September 10 to 30.

ONOC have stated that while the focus of the camps will primarily be on training, they could include Japanese study and community engagement in the prefectures.

Benefits of the camps were also cited, including weight training, training technique support, strength and conditioning coaching, medical support, physical fitness testing and education on nutrition.

Fukuoka are due to cover accommodation and meals for the athletes, along with travel in the prefecture and the volunteers, who act as translators.

ONOC are set to handle other major expenses, such as travelling to and from Japan, as well as visas.

A second camp is expected to take place in 2019, with the pre-Tokyo 2020 training camp due to take place in July that year in the build-up to the Games.

ONOC have also stated that Fukuoka are willing to potentially host athletes beyond the 2020 Olympic Games.