“Supportive, welcoming, brilliant!” Para Cycling Camps take 23 Para cyclists to the next level
“This was an amazing opportunity for our son and us. It has boosted his confidence and motivation. We cannot wait to see where this takes him. He is now feeling really motivated to enter some races which he never would have before.”Clare and Matt, whose son attended the Cambridge camp
23 participants from the South and North Islands took part in Para Cycling Camps in Christchurch and Cambridge over the past month. Paralympics New Zealand ran the two camps as part of its role leading the Para Cycling Programme.
Organiser and Para Sport Pathway Manager Dale MacDonald was excited to see the camps come together:
“After a hiatus due to COVID restrictions, it was special to see so many prospective Para cyclists attend the camps. The camps help to develop the sport of Para cycling, both by identifying the talent of the future, and also by bringing the Para cycling community together for learning and camaraderie.”
Families interested in Para cycling had the opportunity to attend a weekend facilitated by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) where they could try the sport, and learn about how it work at a high performance level.
At the camps, Para cycling staff observed the new Para cyclists with a view to selecting potential riders into future opportunities (talent identification). Classifiers were also present, giving an opportunity for Para cyclists to receive a national classification, which allows them to compete.
The camps included a mix of practical and classroom sessions, with presentations by High Performance Sport New Zealand providers, skills sessions on the bike, and watt bike testing. Participants learned about the Para cycling pathway, and had introductory coaching sessions.
The new Para cyclists met and worked with the PNZ staff, local Para cycling coaches and support staff, and current PNZ HP Development and Prospect Para cyclists.
The aspect which participants and their families most appreciated was the networking with other Para cyclists.
Stephen, whose son attended the Cambridge camp, explained:
“I can’t thank you enough for having such events that allow him to feel normal and the Para environment gives him the courage and reasons to continue to strive for the improvements that we continue to see.
“I would like to bring up the beneficial effects that these camps have on the caregivers. There’s so much to be gained from being able to share stories and have the affirmation we are not alone.”