Posted on Tuesday 18th August, 2020

As part of the Harvey Norman Para Sport National Development Programme, Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ), with the support of Harvey Norman, held a Para Cycling Development Camp from 1-3 August 2020. The camp included Talent Identification (Talent ID) and Open sessions for riders, with introductory sessions for those new to the track or the road.

Athletes were welcomed by Laura Thompson, PNZ Para Cycling National Development Coordinator, to the Avantidrome in Cambridge, where they participated in track sessions, as well as workshops and presentations. Facilitated by speakers from PNZ, High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ), and Cycling New Zealand, the workshops provided an opportunity for Para athletes to develop off the bike, gaining knowledge of Para cycling, and learning what it takes to perform at the elite level.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Athlete Life workshop, presented by Judy Clement from HPSNZ, which focused on planning for balance, and embracing change. The Para athletes found value in this session, being of particular relevance to the challenges they may be facing this year.

The unveiling of the Wall of Champions at the Avantidrome on 3 August, offered time to recognise and celebrate New Zealand’s most accomplished Para cyclists, with the camp then heading to Hampton Downs with fresh inspiration, for the PNZ time trial series. The races followed a skills session, and brought together experienced riders, as well as some first time Para cyclists. A sizeable field saw Para athletes competing in community rider, C Class, tandem, trike, and handcycle, race categories.

New to Para cycling, Talent ID rider, Siobhan Terry, said “One of my favourite parts about the camp was the wide variety of experiences involved – velodrome, road, and race! I also enjoyed getting to know the high-level Para cyclists and having the opportunity to learn from them. Overall, just a really positive experience”.

Image showing Talent ID Para cyclist, Siobhan Terry, racing in the Community Ride at Hampton Downs.
Siobhan Terry racing in the time trial at Hampton Downs

Development rider, Connor Douglas, found the experience delivered “a well-structured and planned out camp, which was very enjoyable for everyone. It was good to see so many numbers attend this camp and was also good to see so many riders, coaches and family members getting along with others. I can’t wait for October to roll around for our next camp. So excited to see all the faces again”.

The camp aimed to provide an all-round development experience for selected Development, as well as Open Community, riders. Through a range of watt bike power testing, track and road sessions, workshops, and presentations, delivered under the support of a passionate co-ordinator and staff team, PNZ was able to successfully deliver on this purpose.

PNZ would like to thank all the Para athletes, support crew, coaches, and staff, for their participation and contribution in making this experience possible. PNZ extends a special thanks to our partner, Harvey Norman, for their ongoing support of the Harvey Norman Para Sport National Development Programme. With their support, PNZ can continue to provide opportunities for Para athletes to and through introductory clinics, classification opportunities, open training camps, talent identification days, regional and national development camps, individualised Para athlete support, and coach development.

If you would like to know more about Para cycling, or become involved, please register your interest here.