Legend Fernandes targets Tokyo Olympics
1 August 2017, 6:32PM
The former world and European triathlon champion Vanessa de Sousa Fernandes is back in training for the 2020 Olympics - and she believes she is capable of competing at the highest level once again.
The 31-year-old Portuguese is currently living in a villa on the Quinta da Marinha Resort, in Cascais, near Lisbon, and is using the five-star venue - the official hotel of September's Ironman 70.3 Cascais event - as her training base.
After nearly a decade without competing, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist is determined to mount a challenge at the world's premier sporting event in Tokyo in 2020. But although her ultimate target must be Olympic gold to add to her clutch of world and European titles, she remains focused on her preparations.
She said: "I just want to keep up with the work I've been doing in the past six months and expect things to happen naturally and smoothly. It is one thing to dream, but something else to achieve those goals.
"It would be arrogant on my part with the results I have at this time to assume I will be in contention to win in Tokyo. But my training has been developing well and I feel better with each passing day."
Fernandes believes Quinta da Marinha Resort is fast becoming a base for triathletes from across Europe. The area around the resort is ideal for running, cycling and open-water swimming, while it offers a selection of one and two-bedroom villas for privacy and relaxation, in addition to its 198 five-star hotel rooms.
She explained: "The Quinta da Marinha Hotel is one of the best places in the world.
"It offers exceptional training conditions for practicing sports, especially in terms of access. I can get away from the city and being so close to the Sintra mountain range gives us great freedom to ride a bike comfortably.
"The hotel is quiet and calm, which is perfect for physical and emotional recovery. It's the ideal place to unwind from the competition environment. It is a privilege to be able to live here."
Fernandes started competing in triathlons in 1999, aged just 14, and became European junior champion just four years later.
She went on to win the women's elite European title five years in a row, between 2004 and 2008 - in Valencia, Lausanne, Autun, Copenhagen and Lisbon - and, in four of those years, she was also the European under-23 champion. In 2007, in Hamburg, she added the world title to her impressive triathlon CV - and, not content with that, she also holds a record 20 World Cup wins, more than any other male or female in 25 years of International Triathlon Union (ITU) racing, and counts both world and European duathlon titles among her prize haul.
She is, without doubt, a triathlon legend. Indeed, had she been competing a decade later, it's fair to say she would be an instantly recognisable worldwide sporting icon - such has been the rise in the sport's media profile in the last 10 to 15 years.
She added: "Triathlon as a sport has made a huge jump in recent years. There is far greater coverage of the sport and it's great to see many more athletes of all ages getting involved."
The multi-award-winning, family-owned Hotel Quinta da Marinha Resort - which opened in 1999 and was extensively remodelled in 2014 - overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is complemented by an outstanding Robert Trent Jones Snr-designed golf course, which dates from 1984.
Part of the ‘Great Hotels of the World' portfolio, Hotel Quinta da Marinha Resort is an ideal venue to enjoy a romantic break, hold important meetings, play golf, learn to surf, enjoy a cycling break or simply relax in luxury and comfort in the heart of nature. Its facilities include swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurants, 11 meeting rooms, a health club, complimentary beach shuttle service and one of the most beautiful and prestigious golf courses in the region.
Onyria Golf Resorts also owns the nearby, much-acclaimed Monte Mar seafood restaurant which has been frequented by many A-list celebrities including President Bill Clinton.