“It makes me really happy when I see that they can learn and that they are so happy after the camp. One thing I was really feeling was the motivation and the spirit in the training to train together. It’s very important that I can give that support to aid the development of our sport."
Switzerland’s multiple world champion Marcel Hug took time out from his busy training schedule and race preparations to share his unique knowledge and experience with a group of enthusiastic wheelchair racers in July.
The 26 participants gathered together from around Europe and as far afield as Japan for the ‘Swiss Silver Bullet Training Camp’ in Hug’s home town of Nottwil, Switzerland.
Hug hosted the seven-day training programme from 18 - 24 July, and was assisted by his coach Paul Odermatt as well as Paralympic, world and European 100m T54 champion Leo Pekka-Tahti, Finland’s wheelchair sprint specialist.
Hug decided to hold the training camp - which has traditionally taken place exclusively for Swiss juniors and newcomers - after hearing from a number of para-athletes who were keen to learn from one of the best in the business.
“In Germany or Austria they train alone mostly,” explained Hug. “We have good facilities and a good coach so I thought it would be a good idea to train together.”
Some participants had never been in a racing chair before, some had started racing within the last year, and others had years of experience behind them – but everyone came away with a unique insight into what it takes to become a para-athlete.
Two training sessions took place each day, covering topics such as coordination, technique, top speed training and endurance, while Pekka-Tahti gave a masterclass on starts.
The group did enjoy an afternoon off too, exploring the local mountains, while in the evenings Hug and his team gave presentations on mental skills, preparation, and how to set goals.
Hug was pleased with the camp and the eagerness to learn of the participants.
“It makes me really happy when I see that they can learn and that they are so happy after the camp. One thing I was really feeling was the motivation and the spirit in the training to train together. It’s very important that I can give that support to aid the development of our sport.
“For me it was important to motivate everyone and keep them going, to encourage them to stay in the sport, and to see that they can improve in technique.”
“Courses like this are important because athletes like myself have a lot of opportunities and experience and knowledge to share.”