Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) held a Para-Cycling Talent Identification Camp in New Plymouth last week (16 – 18 January) searching for talented new athletes to join the programme.
Held at the Taranaki Cycle Park, a facility that features an outdoor velodrome and enclosed road circuit, 14 athletes attended the camp and experienced para-cycling, for 11 of these athletes it was their first camp. The camp included coaching and advice, endurance testing, cycling sessions on the road and track, specialised para-cycling equipment; tandem cycles, handcycles, trikes, road and track bikes; cycling with experienced pilots (sighted cyclists for blind athletes); information and expectations on the PNZ Para-Cycling Programme.
The camp was led by Jono Hailstone, Development Coach, and Dale MacDonald, National Development Co-ordinator. Sighted pilot Sean Finning worked with tandem cyclists, and Para-Cycling Classifiers Rebecca Foulsham & Marguerite Christophers classified athletes during the camp.
The athletes were treated to an inspirational talk by New Zealand para-cyclist and world champion Emma Foy, who shared with the group her cycling experiences including competing at the recent UCI Para-Cycling Track and Road World Championships.
Hadleigh Pierson, PNZ Talent Identification Manager, said: “This camp highlighted that para-cycling is a sport that is a great option for a number of disabled athletes.
“Identification of athletes and development camps such as this one are a key part of our build-up to the 2015 UCI Para-Cycling World Championships and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.”