Board of Trustees member Dr. Gary Cunningham, left, gives Shaolin Temple Abbot Shai Yongxin a handmade book of the “Philosophy of Shaolin Kung Fu” course translated into Chinese.

Patrick Yipp, an employee of the Hong Kong Amateur Sport Federation and Olympic Committee, was the first individual to successfully complete an International Diploma in Sports program in 1987. He was joined in this distinction on Oct. 19, 2013 with the graduation of 673 Malaysian teachers who completed the 2012 International Diploma in Physical Education and Scholastic Sports (IDPESS).

In a graduation ceremony held under the patronage of the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, and presided over by Deputy Minister of Education Datin Mary Yap Kain Ching, the students collected their diplomas at a special convocation held at Balai Budaya Tun Syed Nasir Ismail in the Dewan Bahasa Dan Putaka in Kuala Lumpur. Dr. T.J. Rosandich, the Academy’s vice president and COO, pointed out at the convocation that the training the teach¬ers received helps Malaysia’s youth both athletically and academi¬cally.

“I hope that all of you will go from here today and apply your new found skills within the schools where you work,” he said. “If you succeed in doing so, you will help to create a better learning environment for all concerned and most importantly, for the betterment of the students under your supervision.”

The convocation kicked off the second year of the 10-week IDPESC program that wrapped up this year in early December. Another 680 Malaysian educators received training in physical education and sports to help improve the country’s youth sports, among other benefits.

Yassin and the coun¬try’s other leaders had the vision to build vigorous sports programs for Malaysian children. It led to the Academy developing a diploma pro¬gram for the Southeast Asian coun¬try that is arguably one of the largest training programs in physical educa¬tion and sports coaching ever under-taken.

Muhyiddin, who received a 2012 International Honorary Doctorate in January from the Academy at its campus in Daphne, Ala., helped oversee the implementation of “One Student – One Sport” in Malaysia’s schools about four years ago to im¬prove physical education and scho¬lastic sports for the nation’s children. As part of the effort, more physical education and sports coaching training is being given to thousands of the nation’s teachers, who oversee the stu¬dents’ development in sports.

It also is important to the devel¬opment of a national system that al¬lows youth to advance in sports, with the best eventually competing in the Olympics or in professional sports.
Students from around the world have successfully completed the Academy’s International Diploma in Sports programs. In addition to Malaysia, students have hailed from Hong Kong, Bahrain, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

THAILAND – For the past nine years, the Academy has taught International Certification programs in Sports Management (ICSM) and Sports Coaching (ICSC) in cooperation with the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT). In addition to the twelve weeks of on-site classroom instruction in Bangkok, for the past seven consecutive years the Academy has taken Thailand officials and best students from the program on a two-week, cross-country American sports study tour.

This year included among other things in-depth looks at United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Training Center in San Diego, and the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

CHINA – About two-dozen Shanghai swimming coaches hosted by the Academy in May received hands-on and classroom instruction. While on campus, the Chinese students participated in seminars taught by Academy faculty on subjects, such as coaching methodology, sports psychology, strength and conditioning, fitness and sports medicine.

They also participated in practical sessions at Bishop State and Auburn University. At Auburn, they spent a day with the college swimming powerhouse learning new training techniques and had the chance to quiz both coach Brett Hawke and Tyler McGill, an Olympic gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics.

The Academy is currently planning for the delivery of its International Diploma in Sports Coaching in May 2014 in cooperation with the Shanghai Sports Administration (SSA). It calls for the Academy to help transition some 100 of China’s elite athletes and Olympians into new careers as coaches.

SHAOLIN TEMPLE – The Academy has also worked with the Shaolin Temple since 2006. Working with individuals steeped in the lore of the Shaolin, reputed to be the well-spring from which all the marital arts originated, the Academy developed an online course to introduce kung-fu enthusiasts and Chan Buddhists to the philosophical underpinnings of the martial arts.

While the original course was posted in English, beginning this past October, Chinese speakers around the world could take this online course for the first time in their own language. To commemorate this event, Board of Trustees member Dr. Gary Cunningham presented Shaolin Temple Abbot Shi Yongxin with an original, hand-made, leather-bound book of the “Philosophy of Shaolin Kung Fu” course translated in both Chinese and English during the Shaolin Temple Cultural Festival in October at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

GABON – The Academy sent a team in March led by Dr. T.J. Rosandich to conduct a comprehensive study of Gabon’s sports programs and facilities in its cities and rural areas. It submitted a comprehensive report on the West Africa country’s efforts to the Office of the President in May.

This comprehensive evaluation of sport in Gabon followed an earlier effort in which the Academy prepared a Legacy Study concerning the use of Stadia built for the Cup of African Nations held in Gabon in January and February 2012. The Legacy study addressed issues ranging from the operation and maintenance of the facilities to how they could be employed to support Gabon’s national sport effort in the years to come.

Both the Assessment Report and the Legacy Study have formed the cornerstone for a roadmap for the development of a comprehensive National Sport Effort for the country. Findings of these reports were distilled into a draft program entitled “Sport in Gabon: The Way Forward” that is currently being reviewed by senior governmental officials in the Office of the President and in the Ministry of Education, the governmental agency responsible for sport in the country.