In this interview Terry Lomax, Athletics NZ’s High Performance Rio 2016 Performance Project Manager, outlines what’s involved with the upcoming Performance Development Tour …
What is the goal of the tour?
The tour is designed to further develop athletes with the experience of being an athlete at the performance level in the cauldron of the sport - Europe.
It gives exposure to ever-increasing levels of competition to smooth the transition in bridging the gap between early senior-aged athletes to fully fledged seniors.
When will this tour start and finish?
Three athletes departed with the World Junior Champs team on Sunday 17 June. The balance of the athletes, plus coaches, will leave on 24 June.
What meets will the tour include?
A range of meets including the Cardiff International - July 18, a final meet pre-Olympics for a number of athletes, in addition to various Grand Prix-type meetings around Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. There is a high level two-day meeting in Bottrop, Germany, which should provide excellent competition with strong in-depth fields.
How many athletes will be going?
12 athletes plus two coaches and a physiotherapist will be travelling.
Where will the athletes be based?
Initially Heidelburg in Germany then Leuven, Belgium for two to three weeks, with some athletes spending a week with the Olympic Team in Cardiff.
What qualifies the athletes for this tour?
All athletes are part of the Performance Programme, either as HPSNZ funded level athletes or RIO 2016 Squad membership.
They are invited based on their needs for performance development. There are no selection standards and the tour needs to sit within their individual sport plan that is identified with their coaches and the Performance Department.
Who are the athletes that are going?
Alex Jordan, Angie Smit, Ben Langton-Burnell, Caroline Mellsop, Elizabeth Lamb, Frazer Wickes, Fiona Morrison, Matthew Robinson, Michael Cochrane, Tama Toki, Te Rina Keenan and Tom Walsh.
Who is managing the tour?
Michelle Wood is the Operations Manager for the tour, though I will be there for the first week and the week in Cardiff.
Who are the officials and coaches on the tour?
Coaches are Matt Dallow, Joe Hunter and Andrew Maclennan, with Melissa Gilbertson as the Physiotherapist.
This is the second year of the concept, with six of the athletes touring last year. The concept will be developed further next year with the next group of World Junior Championship athletes, who will become Seniors next season, as the first group look to transition to the next level of being a performance athlete.