By Bilal Ali

The Bachar Houli Foundation (BHF) travelled to the Sunshine Coast for its annual Elite Performance Camp last month, holding the program domestically for the first time due to international travel restrictions.

The 14 participants, aged between 15 and 18, were tested physically and mentally during the six-day camp, with activities ranging from football training and athleticism testing to yoga and identity-building exercises.

BHF Founder Bachar Houli was proud of the determination shown by the participants.

“Alhamdulillah [thanks to God] the Elite Performance Camp was another great success and I was extremely proud of the effort and leadership of the participants,” Houli said.

“This was our youngest group of participants on an Elite Performance Camp and seeing how motivated they are to become great leaders was certainly a highlight for me.

“This camp is always special for me spending a week with a small group of participants where we can really focus on one-on-one development and provide each of them with quality time and space.

“I’m looking forward to spending another two to three years together with them where we can watch them grow and develop as great Australian Muslims.”

Multicultural and Bachar Houli Talent Programs Manager and former AFL footballer Ahmed Saad was amongst the mentors on the camp, and was responsible for much of the physical and health aspects of the program.

“It was great to be back on a program face-to-face with the participants, rather than what we had been doing online during the COVID-19 lockdown,” Saad said.

“The participants get so much more out of it from both a bonding and training perspective; and it’s also important for them to spend quality time with each other and create lifelong friendships.

“It also gives them an opportunity to spend time with Bachar Houli, who is one of their role models, to see how he goes about his day with training and practicing his religion, and try to implement a few things they learnt from him in their day-to-day lives.

“Overall, the camp was an awesome experience; the facilities were great and the players trained really well and never complained about the heat or when training got tough.

“They showed great leadership and brotherhood to get through everything we threw at them and we were really proud of them.”

The Bachar Houli Foundation will continue to run programs throughout 2021, with COVID- 19 restricts permitting, including junior and senior academies and leadership programs for both boys and girls, as well as the return of the Bachar Houli Cup.