Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Behind the scenes at the Paralympics GB training camp in Bath

Me chatting with some of the Paralympic GB fencing team at the simulation camp

Last week I was invited by BT Storytellers to go on a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Paralympics GB simulation camp held at the University of Bath.

The scale of a Paralympic Games is much bigger than most of the athletes have experienced previously, so the simulation camp is designed to help them prepare for the unique conditions that they will live and train in during Games time. During the camp athletes stay in student accommodation on site, providing a distraction-free environment for them to eat, sleep, train and relax in.

Over 150 athletes will spend time at the camp over a two week period. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the tremendous buzz around the place. I’ve been to the University of Bath before for meetings and young people’s events but this time was different. Security was tighter and everyone wore special passes to allow them access to the camp area.

We headed straight for the busy dining hall marquee where athletes, coaches and staff catch up and bond over lunch. A selection of hot food is available including pasta and vegetables, and there are lots of fridges full of drinks provided by Coca cola. After lunch we joined a tour group of about 15 people who I think were mostly press and corporate sponsors.

On the tour we looked around the sporting facilities and heard from some of the numerous coaches, therapists and practitioners involved in supporting the athletes. There is even a designated pee station where they carry out hydration testing and weigh athletes before and after they train. We saw a reproduction of an athlete’s bedroom in the Olympic village. The athletes share twin rooms and I was surprised at how sparse and functional they are, very similar to student halls of residence. The highlight for me was seeing the fencing and sitting volleyball squads training. Fast-paced, noisy and energetic, we were offered a tantalising preview of how exciting it will be to watch the Games next summer.

It was amazing to experience the atmosphere within the camp for an afternoon and catch a glimpse of how the British Paralympic team are preparing for London 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting day and good to hear what is happening.