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A tough mix between sports and school, but things can change

A tough mix between sports and school, but things can change

Young Noe Ponte will fly to the United States to continue his studies


Noi Ponte, a bronze medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, has reignited a debate over the combination of sport and school which, according to some, does not work perfectly in Switzerland.

“I am going to the United States because I find it the best way to combine sport and study. Here in Ticino, but also in the rest of Switzerland, we are not yet as far advanced as there or in Australia.

However, things could soon change: the Swiss Olympics and Swiss universities have been working for a few months to find better solutions for athletes. Indeed, a letter of intent was signed in October in which the two umbrella organizations agreed to favor a dual career, that of an elite athlete and a Swiss public high school student.

The text specifies that it is up to individual universities to organize ad hoc courses. Boas Erez, president of USI, has always explained to CSR what the difficulties are: “It is always difficult to manage exceptions, because one of the fundamental principles is equal treatment of all students.” But to improve, something can be done: “We are thinking of hiring tutors to follow the youth and exams outside of sessions.”

Some hypotheses are under study

Among the hypotheses being investigated, are also those of reduced commitment to attend and the opportunity to study in training centers. The University of Lausanne already took steps in this direction in 2013 and the following year a program for outstanding athletes was launched.

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She now has about seventy students, including Ajla del Ponte from Ticino. “Examinations are still a problem. Many professors want everyone to attend the session at the same time, whether they are athletes or not. Ideally, this period should be adapted to the competitions of athletes,” admitted Pierre Pfefferli, director of the concerned sports service.

The future will certainly be brighter, but repeating the American model looks like a utopia: “Up to 10-15 years ago, sports were seen as a beautiful thing, but it did not make sense. Now it is starting to gain some weight, it is a topic of research and there Interest. Perhaps we will never reach American levels, but in 10-15 years there will be a real desire to favor the athlete. “