Athletes chatter ahead of the WTS season's kick off in Abu Dhabi
Vicky Holland, Mario Mola and Katie Zaferes talked on the press conference on their feelings about the new season that is just beginning in Abu Dhabi. They were joined by Micah and Jonah Hambleton, two of the triathletes that will be competing in the opening sport of the Special Olympics, also taking place in Abu Dhabi.
On his two wins in Abu Dhabi and preparations for this race. “This is the first race of the year, so you don’t know how fit the others are but also you don’t know how fit you are. We are all in the same situation. We all prepare in the winter and perform as best as we can in the first race of the year, so we will see how it goes”.
On the Title he is more proud of: “Every season where you put together a solid and consistent season you are really proud and happy. At the end, the first world title is special, because is the first one, but you work as hard for the other ones. I won my third title in the same place where I won the junior title ten years before so it was also pretty special”.
On how is the off season for him: “We take some time off, it is a very long season, eight months of competition, and if you want to race in proper conditions you need at least three months of solid training before the races, so not much time left, the year only has 12 months. We normally take three weeks almost off, one week really off and the rest with easy training. We are athletes, so if we don’t do anything, we feel guilty”.
On the highs and the lows of the 2018 season: “2018 was an interesting year for me. The big aim for me was the Commonwealth Games, I had set my target on that, but I was not able to podium there. But on every race after that one I seem to be getting better and better, with three wins in the WTS. I went to the Grand Final with chances to win the Title, and it was probably the best possible scenario for the fans. It was a real heat to head between myself and Katie, whoever finish ahead of the other will win the race. It was a great way to win the world title”.
On coming here as the defending World Champion and having more pressure: “The only pressure is from myself. I don’t think it changes a lot, you always want to perform the best that you can and win the races. It’s great to come here with this title, but it is not going to change the way I race”.
On her plans for 2020 after winning bronze in Rio 2016: “I plan to take the gold medal, hahaha. No, I’m joking. I’m focusing on 2020, it’s the big aim for me to be in the Olympics. I’ve been in two Olympics already, won a medal, but just qualify for the next ones is going to be very hard, we have a very strong team. My goal is to qualify and if I’m in that team, going to Tokyo 2020 to win another medal”.
On the Mixed Relay making its debut in Abu Dhabi: “I love the Mixed Relay, I’m super excited that it will be part of the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 and also a race here in Abu Dhabi. It is so unpredictable, and you have to rely on your team members, and also the fact that you never know who is going to win until the last relay, makes it a perfect format. The first time I watched a Relay race was in Hamburg, I wasn’t racing back then, but it was the very first time that I felt really emotional watching a race. It really brings out the country pride, and I just love it”.
On how teams prepare for the Relay: “It’s definitely something that countries and teams are taking more and more into considerations for planning, and also for deciding which athletes are doing the relay and which the individual races. As for the preparation, it takes more focus in the little details, like transition movements, because if you make one of these little mistakes it will have a massive impact in the whole team”.
On the secrets of not having had any injuries so far in her career: “The secret is training, diet and the team around me. And luck as well. One of the biggest ways of being consistent is not doing anything special. Put in the work every day, and train for every race”.
Micah y Jonah Hambleton
On the preparations for the Special Olympics: “It has been very tough, we have been preparing for nine months. We train together, and have three different coaches, one for swimming, one for biking and one for running. We have worked a lot for this race. And we are really looking forward the race”.
Related Event: 2019 Daman World Triathlon Abu Dhabi
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