13 January 2010
Aviva Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletes continued their preparations for this month’s IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand (21-30 January) with an open competition at Auckland City Athletics Club last night (Wednesday 12 January), a short drive from the team’s preparation camp at the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health in the city.
Primarily for the ambulant athletes, the event enabled a group of 19 to assess their progress just over one week out from the Championships, the last major senior Paralympic event prior to the London 2012 Paralympic Games and an invaluable stepping stone.
A number of athletes achieved lifetime best performances in an unpredictable swirling wind including 18-year-old Bethy Woodward (coach: Jonas Dodoo) who took almost four seconds off her 400m PB with a time of 1:10.17.
"It’s such a hard race and I haven’t had a lot of experience in it," said Woodward, "but a combination of the good base training I did with my old coach Todd and the work I’ve done with my new coach Jonas in the last couple of months really contributed to that performance."
"I’ve also had the chance to work with Sarah Cecil, the team psychologist who’s out here with us, who really helped me concentrate on splitting the race into phases, that helped massively.
"Overall I felt strong and although the last 100m was tough, my form was definitely better than it’s ever been. I’ve been working really hard since we arrived in New Zealand and tonight was amazing, it’s really given me the confidence I need."
Peter Eriksson, Aviva GB & NI Team Leader and UKA Head Coach (Paralympic), said: "That was a really good warm up experience – it was spot on, although it was a bit windy out there."
"The important thing was that it took the rust off and a lot of the performances were exactly where they should be. It was good to see so many of the guys achieving PBs or getting so close."
For the latest news about the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, please visit www.ipcathleticsworldchamps.com
Daily session reports will be posted on the UKA website: www.uka.org.uk