In advance of its debut at the 2016 Paralympic Summer Games, Triathlon Canada has launched a new program aimed at building depth amongst the pool of paratriathletes in the country.
The first National Paratriathlon Academy at Carleton University in Ottawa will offer regional and provincial delivery and access to paratriathlon programs, training venues and participation opportunities in partnership with the University.
“The Academy initiative is one of Triathlon Canada’s first critical steps forward to not only growing this relatively young sport in the country, but to ultimately developing more medal-winning athletes at the elite level for Canada,” said Larry McMahon, operations director, Triathlon Canada. “Building a deep talent pool of athletes is critical to success in any sport. Therefore, providing access to cost-effective, centralized facilities and programs is crucial if we want to introduce and guide more athletes through our long-term athlete development model, and eventually celebrate a Canadian standing on the Paralympic podium in 2016 and beyond.”
There are two key aspects to the recruitment of athletes and the delivery of programs and services offered through the Academy, which is open to all interested athletes with a physical disability, guides, para-coaches and athlete assistants, ages 16 and older, from the grassroots to elite level.
Working with provincial triathlon associations and local clubs, Triathlon Canada will conduct up to two on-site training camps each month for paratriathletes that will include swim, bike and run coaching in addition to lectures designed to focus on the unique aspects of training for athletes, guides and assistants. Equipment will be provided at the camps to encourage newcomers, and regional clubs will provide ongoing access to their training programs to promote further development. Committed associations will also provide mentoring, education, training and professional development opportunities for coaches.
The Academy will also conduct webinars to provide additional information around Triathlon Canada’s high-performance paratriathlon program including training, sport-science, medical and nutrition to reach active members across the country.
While the program is being launched at Carleton University, the goal is to team up with other post-secondary institutions across Canada to join the National Paratriathlon Academy campus network in an effort to further increase recruitment and development opportunities.
“Carleton is proud to host the first academy that will support this important advance in Paralympic sports,’’ said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. “It is a natural fit for the university given our longstanding leadership in research and accessibility initiatives through our Paul Mention Centre for Students with Disabilities.’‘
The announcement came on the eve of Triathlon Canada conducting its first official training camp at Carleton in Ottawa, February 2-3, as medal-winning paratriathletes, sport and University officials gathered with The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), on the indoor track at Carleton’s Field House to officially open the first National Paratriathlon Academy.
“Our Government supports sport participation and excellence from the playground to the podium,” said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). “We look forward to seeing paratriathlon make its Paralympic debut in 2016.”
Triathlon Canada has become increasingly more active in growing its paratriathlon program since the sport was introduced three years ago to debut at the 2016 Paralympic Games. In an attempt to maintain pace with the international growth, and increased competition at the elite level, Triathlon Canada has staged centralized training camps in advance of the World Championships over the last two years, and has increased racing opportunities at all levels both domestically and abroad. The focus is to contribute to Canada’s Paralympic medal count in 2016 and beyond.
The Academy will continue to grow the participation levels of the sport in Canada, working closely with provincial associations, disability organizations and the Canadian Paralympic Committee in an effort to recruit new individuals.
“This training academy is the type of program that will help grow the amateur sport system in Canada and parasport opportunities in particular,” said David Legg, president, Canadian Paralympic Committee. “We’d love to see more national sport organizations doing this and we applaud Triathlon Canada’s initiative, and Carleton University’s support, in launching this exciting pilot project.”
The cost to join the National Paratriathlon Academy will be based on a nominal annual membership fee based on various classes of active athlete or non-athlete membership to assist with administration and communication costs. As the program is developed more information on membership fees will be made available. In an effort to keep weekend training camp fees as low as possible they are currently $50-65 and are designed cover venue and other costs of the camps. Interested athletes can receive further information or register by contacting Michel Elibani, Manager of the National Paratriathlon Academy -Ottawa/Gatineau Campus, by e-mail at Michel.firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Paratriathlon programs can also be found at www.triathloncanada.com on the Internet.
The paratriathlon consists of a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike course, and a five-kilometre run. Paratriathletes use equipment racing wheelchairs and hand cycles, along with sighted guides for athletes with a visual impairment.
Triathlon Canada is the governing body for triathlon in the country. Recognized as an Olympic medal sport since 2000, Triathlon Canada’s mandate is to promote, foster, organize and develop the sport of triathlon, and its related disciplines, in Canada. For more information on Triathlon Canada, please visit us at www.triathloncanada.com on the Internet.