Sparkassen Gala 2011
Thursday 2nd June 2011

Just 2 weeks back from our 3 week warm-weather training camp in Formia, Italy, Heathrow airport beckons once more tomorrow morning.  My summer of travels continues this weekend, accompanying the GB sprint relay teams out to the Sparkassen Gala 2011 (, which takes place this weekend in Regensburg's Unistadion, about 2 hours from Munich, Germany. 

The teams met this morning (or for one or two of the more tardy timekeepers, this afternoon) at Eton's athletics track for the guys & girls to have a team practice, under the guidance of Tony Lester & Lloyd Cowan.  The session consisted of some baton drills, followed by change-overs to look at technique & get everyone used to transferring the baton over to each other.

Due to late call offs we are down to the bare bones in each squad - normally we would look to take 6 athletes per squad but as of this evening we are down to 5 for the boys.  The guys are being represented by Harry Aikines-Aryeety, Leon Baptiste, James Ellington, Craig Pickering & Danny Talbot, whilst the girls team consists of Jeanette Kwayke, Laura Turner, Abi Oyepitan, Anyika Onuora, Asha Philip & Hayley Jones.

Indeed the role of a physio in the world of sprint relays is a rather unenviable one.  It seems the coaches of some of the athletes that do join up with the team may almost be waiting for something to go wrong so they can point a finger at the training that was done outwith their supervision.  Was there a niggle that should have prevented them from running?  If so it wasn't enough to warrant pulling them as they needed the run out, or it was enough to warrant pulling them & they injured themselves on our watch.  There are the injuries that an athlete may overplay to avoid travelling & risking injury, which would preclude them from a payday individual race or the injuries that an athlete might under-report to their regular coach & physio or the relay physio in their enthusiasm to get a space on the team - & then when it all goes wrong & the injury gets worse...whose fault is it that the injury wasn't identified in the first place?!!!  Then amongst all the smoke & mirrors, there are the legitimate injuries that an athlete turns up with that need urgent management & treatment.  It's a minefield out there!!!

Still, the time spent with the team amkes it all worthwhile.  The banter has flowed this evening with tales of adolescent trials & tribulations, parental discipline, first jobs & first cars - James' revelations of his first car being a delivery truck doing the rounds in south London with Italian furniture in the back & his subsequent attempts at buying second hand cars were priceless, as were Harry's experiences in buying written off & poorly repaired cars.  The main message to take away from the table though was that Alfa Romeo's are far from reliable beasts despite their good looks!

Tomorrow is an early start - 7am at Heathrow - so time to check out!

Athletics Fact of the Day:  Runners on the first & third legs of a 4x100m relay typically run on the inside of the lane with the baton in their right hand, whilst runners on the second & fourth legs take the baton in their left.

blog comments powered by Disqus