By Gary Anderson

February 18 - ANOC Secretary General Gunilla Lindberg (centre) and  RIOU Rector Professor Lev Belousov (far right) drop in on the RIOU MSA students during a lecture ©ANOCSecretary general of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Gunilla Lindberg highlighted the need for best practice among NOCs as she spoke to students on a visit to the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) today.

Lindberg met with three international students specially selected by ANOC to study in the Olympic city of Sochi on scholarships, as part of the Master of Sport Administration (MSA) course at RIOU.

Lindberg spoke at length with the students and encouraged them to make the most of their opportunity to help make a positive contribution to their NOCs and the Olympic Movement in their respective countries.

"It is great to visit RIOU, speak to the students and see how they are enjoying studying at the University," said Lindberg.

"ANOC is always looking to serve the NOCs by finding innovative ways of promoting best practice and providing scholarships to an Olympic legacy project like RIOU is an excellent way of doing that.

"It also gives us the chance to offer opportunities to NOCs who may otherwise find their options restricted due to limited resources.

"The experience the students are getting from studying here, particularly during Sochi 2014, is truly invaluable.

"Each of the students will be able to use this experience and the education they receive to go back home and make a meaningful contribution to the future development of their National Olympic Committees and, ultimately, the Olympic Movement."

Gunilla Lindberg (second from left) meets the three ANOC scholars at RIOU: Jorge Mario Marroquín Menéndez (left) Llanga Pathirathnalage Wijeratne (centre right) and Evelyn Hopp (right) ©ANOCGunilla Lindberg meets the three ANOC scholars at RIOU: Jorge Mario Marroquín Menéndez (left) Llanga Pathirathnalage Wijeratne (centre right) and Evelyn Hopp (right) ©ANOC

Evelyn Hopp from the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), Jorge Mario Marroquín Menéndez from Guatemala and Llanga Pathirathnalage Wijeratne from the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka, were all selected by ANOC to receive a Vladimir Potanin Foundation scholarship at RIOU.

The scholarship programme has made 20 million rubles, (£357,000/$589,000/€434,000), available as grants for students enrolling on RIOU's MSA course for 2014-2015.

"I am so grateful to ANOC for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Hopp.

"It is a privilege to study here and to be taught by some of the world's leading experts; for it all to have taken place in the run-up to, and during, the Olympic Games makes it even more special.

"As much as I am enjoying my time here, I am already looking forward to going back and sharing what I have learned with my NOC."

RIOU was established in 2009 as a part of the Sochi 2014 legacy plans and its main headquarters has relocated to Sochi from Moscow, after Russian President Vladimir Putin officially opened the $500 million (£313 million/€374 million) RIOU Sochi campus last September.

The MSA is one of the flagship courses being offered at RIOU and Lindberg is the latest in a line of high profile speakers to have visited the University in recent months.

They include International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, European Olympic Committee chief Pat Hickey, International Ice Hockey Federation head René Fasel and Sochi 2014 chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko.

Gunilla Lindberg signs RIOU's Visitors Book ©ANOCGunilla Lindberg signs RIOU's Visitors Book ©ANOC

"Representing 204 NOCs worldwide, ANOC has a greater reach than any other sports NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation)," said RIOU Rector, Professor Lev Belousov.

"We are very grateful that they are allowing us to collaborate with this network by offering the world's NOCs the opportunity to study at RIOU.

"We hope we will continue to build on this relationship with ANOC in the future in order to ensure that the best practice and knowledge acquired by the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee continues to be distributed among the NOCs and future sports administrators for the advancement of the Olympic Movement."

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