Building on the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where four medals were won by New Zealand cyclists, Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) held a Cycling Talent ID Camp in New Plymouth this weekend searching for talented new athletes to join the programme.
Held at the Taranaki Cycle Park, a new facility that features an outdoor
velodrome and enclosed road circuit, 12 athletes were invited to attend the
camp and experience para-cycling. 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 Cycling Programme.
The PNZ Cycling Programme is lead by world class cycling coach, Brendon Cameron (coach of Paralympic Champions Phillipa Gray & Laura Thompson and former coach of Olympic Champion Sarah Ulmer). He says, "This camp highlighted that para cycling is a sport that is a great option for a number of disabled athletes," he continues, "identification of athletes and development camps such as this one are a key part of our build up to Rio."
Cyclists had the opportunity to work with an experience cycling team and supported staff, and mentored by New Zealand Paralympians Chris Ross, Sue Reid and pilot Laura Fairweather.
The weekend was well supported by ParaFed Taranaki and Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, through assistance from their local Sport Co-ordinators, and who recruited 4 of the 12 invited athletes to the camp.