A day with...

Sil­vio Chiha: Cham­pion of the wa­ter

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENTS -

Le­banese sports­man Sil­vio Chiha has mas­tered ev­ery­thing from judo to wa­ter ski­ing. But it’s his char­ac­ter and com­mit­ment to Le­banon that has made him the cham­pion of a gen­er­a­tion. He speaks to LT on his train­ing rou­tine, mo­ti­va­tion and fa­vorite des­ti­na­tions around the coun­try

Sil­vio Chiha cer­tainly knows a thing or two about ded­i­ca­tion. At the age of 26, the fresh-faced ath­lete is al­ready a cham­pion of the Asian wa­ter­ski world and holds a long list of ac­co­lades and ti­tles in ev­ery­thing from wake­board­ing to ski­ing and judo. Be­tween his wa­ter­ski train­ing ses­sions in Dubai or Europe, the re­lease of his re­cent book and film, “Le­banon Through My Eyes,” and his role as an am­bas­sador for drug ad­dic­tion NGO Oum el Nour, Chiha also ran as Jounieh’s Mu­nic­i­pal­ity can­di­date in the 2016 elec­tions. A tall or­der you might think by any mea­sure, but for some­one who started ski­ing at the age of two and com­pet­ing at 14, Chiha knows what it means to put in the hours. “It all started when I was very young and my mum used to en­cour­age me to go and train in all kinds of sports: judo, tennis, foot­ball, bas­ket­ball… ev­ery­thing,” Chiha says. “Af­ter a while I re­al­ized I had a tal­ent for ski­ing, wa­ter ski­ing and judo and started com­pet­ing. Once I started win­ning it be­came an ad­dic­tion.” A multi-talented sports­man, Chiha has topped na­tional and in­ter­na­tional

com­pe­ti­tions, across a wide range of sports, though its wa­ter­ski­ing he’s ex­celled in. His most re­cent ti­tle was first place in the Asian Wa­ter Ski Cham­pi­onship 2015. Though Chiha has been fly­ing the Le­banese flag in the in­ter­na­tional sports world for many years now, it was his participation in LBC’S prime-time re­al­ity TV show “Splash,” where celebri­ties com­pete in a pool, that first brought his name to wide pub­lic recog­ni­tion. Since then, he’s be­come prob­a­bly the most rec­og­niz­able face in the Le­banese sports world. But be­hind the pub­lic per­sona and com­pe­ti­tion wins, are hours of be­hind-the-scenes ef­fort. Though wa­ter­ski­ing re­quires train­ing just twice a day

for 20 min­utes, a strict health and fit­ness regime is es­sen­tial. “My life­style is very dif­fi­cult, it’s very strict. I pay at­ten­tion to my food, the way I train and I run a lot,” he says. Men­tal de­ter­mi­na­tion is also key. “I have the kind of char­ac­ter where I don’t give up. I’m al­ways push­ing my lim­its. There is a the­ory that I be­lieve that when your brain tells you to stop you have 60 per­cent more to give. I have learned to push my­self to those ex­tremes.”

THROUGH HIS EYES

Cre­ated and man­aged by Sportscode and pro­duced by Le­banese pho­tog­ra­pher and videog­ra­pher Char­bel Bouez, the short film “Le­banon Through My Eyes” was re­leased in the sum­mer of 2015. Filmed around the coun­try, the video highlights some of Le­banon’s lesser-known des­ti­na­tions, show­ing Chiha on ad­ven­tures in breath­tak­ing lo­ca­tions ev­ery­where from An­feh to Chouwane. He is cap­tured el­e­gantly flip­ping and cut­ting through the wa­ter on a wake­board, while ef­fort­lessly ma­noeu­vring

When your brain tells you to stop you have 60 per­cent more to give

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