“I am always working on new ways to improve my game, by improving my physical fitness, analysing game footage, or changing things about my wheelchair itself."
The 10th edition of the Canada Cup for wheelchair rugby will commence on Thursday (19 June) at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver, Canada.
Canada will host a world-class field consisting of No. 2-ranked Australia, along with Japan, Denmark, Great Britain, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland.
Zak Madell will again play a pivotal role part in Canada’s title campaign, as the key high-point player has had a strong 2014 season and has been working hard to take his game to the next level.
“This a been a very fun and exciting season,” Madell said. “I am adjusting my training accordingly so that my performance will be peaking at the time when it is most important.
“I am always working on new ways to improve my game, by improving my physical fitness, analysing game footage, or changing things about my wheelchair itself.
“I just recently got a new rugby chair this season, I am always experimenting with my seating position to try and get the most efficiency out of my chair, and tinkering with new strapping systems so that I am rigid in my seat and no all my energy transfers into my chair.”
This year’s Canada Cup, a three-day event, will be played for world ranking points for the first time, so giving teams a chance to improve their seeding will add a little extra incentive for each team to put in their best performances.
A complete game schedule for the Canada Cup is available at the event homepage.
With no major changes made to the 2013 squad, Canada has flourished and they are confident they have the team to win the tournament and possibly move up a spot in the international rankings.
An identical squad from the 2013 Denmark Wheelchair Rugby Challenge is set to still be together for the IWRF World Championship in August.
The build-up in Canada for the tournament has been strong with plenty of public interest and generous support from the Canadian government.
“British Columbia wheelchair sports always do a fantastic job of advertising for their big events, so we should be anticipating a great turnout from the local fans and family members,” Madell said.
Currently ranked No. 3 in the world, Canada expect to be amongst the top teams in the tournament.
Madell also added that the Canada Cup will act as a preview for the IWRF World Championships, giving them an idea of how they will match up with the other teams over summer.
The USA and Australia will arguably start as the favourites in Denmark in August, but they will not have it all their own way.
“Canada historically has been able to compete with some of the top contenders in the sport, and there is no better feeling than causing a big upset being considered the underdogs against teams like the US and Australia,” Madell said.