Modern facilities, enchanting scenery and a mild climate throughout the year create perfect training conditions for athletes. One who benefits from this is Ajla Del Ponte. Fifth at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 in the 100 m, 60 m sprint European indoor champion 2021 and ambassador of the Ascona-Locarno region. The sprinter was born in Bignasco, in the upper Maggia valley. She moved to Losone with her family at an early age. Being an ambassador for the region where she grew up is a matter close to her heart. "My goal is to make Lake Maggiore known all over the world. Because it's one of those places that people should be made aware of."
She has to work hard to achieve her dreams. Thanks to the excellent facilities, the scenic and natural variety of the region and the Mediterranean ambience of Lake Maggiore, training is a pleasant experience and offers athletes a chance to unwind when they’re not working on their form. Ajla likes to relax by spending time with her family and strolling along the lakeside promenade in Ascona. The region offers all kinds of ways of spending leisure time, including visits to the spa, enjoying a soothing massage and savouring a good meal while watching the sun set over the lake.
Aside from the countless sport and recreational opportunities offered by Ascona-Locarno, Ajla has a soft spot for summer in the region. “Summer’s a wonderful time for visiting the region. It’s when lots of cultural events take place, such as the Moon&Stars and the Locarno Film Festival in Piazza Grande in Locarno.” Most of the time, however, Ajla is on the road. When she talks about Ticino, her eyes start to sparkle: “The Ascona-Locarno region represents home. I feel good every time I arrive there and I know the sun is shining.”
The passion Ajla has for her sport and for Ticino is something she wants to pass on to the young generation of athletes. She says that doing something with passion is the key to success. The fact that athletics is often practised outdoors has certainly had a positive influence on the course of her career. Not for nothing is Ticino known as Switzerland’s sunniest canton. She hopes that the region will remain as natural as ever and continue to develop positively. “People like coming here because Ticino is the way it is.”