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News from the Norwich Union GB & NI Preparation Camp (Day 1)

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The first wave of the 57 strong team arrived at the Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland Preparation Camp in Macau on Saturday.

The full team of athletes, coaches, doctors, physiotherapists, massage therapists and support staff will have arrived by the middle of the week, as the GB Team focuses firmly on performances in Osaka.

Arriving hot-on-the-heels of a Force 8 typhoon, that led to Barcelona FC postponing a pre-season match in nearby Hong Kong, athletes will spend the next week at the same facilities many of them will use in the run up to the Beijing Olympics next year.

Macau was chosen by the British Olympic Association, in conjunction with the performance directors of a number of Olympic sports, as the base for the pre-Beijing holding camp. The BOA has facilitated the arrangements for this year’s camp.

The preparation camp is an integral part of an athlete’s planning ahead of a major championship. Spending time at the camp gives them the opportunity to get use to similar competition weather conditions and get over jet-lag (athletes endured a 12 hour flight to Hong Kong and a 45 minute jet boat trip to get to Macau) while getting away from the distractions of home.

UK Athletics Performance Director, Dave Collins explained:

“A preparation camp is essential, especially when there is such a distance to travel. The camp offers athletes the opportunity to acclimatise to conditions they are not use to while, most importantly, giving them the chance to focus on the job at hand.”

With average daily temperatures in Macau reaching 28oC, athletes are training under hot and sticky conditions similar to those they will compete under in Japan.

And with the training track just ten minutes from the team hotel - a further 20 minutes from the bright lights and casinos of downtown Macau – athletes are under close supervision of coaches and the medical team

Intricate information on travel tips, how to beat jet-lag, keeping hydrated and reducing the risk of mosquito bites was provided for athletes before they even got on the plane.

While in Macau coaches, physios and massage therapists are on hand to get athletes in the best shape possible before they fly on to Osaka during the days leading up the World Championships starting on 25th August.

Dr Bruce Hamilton, UKA Chief Medical Officer, said;

"Acclimatisation is a big factor, when preparing for a major championship and that is what the holding camp will enable the athletes to do. It also provides an opportunity for the athletes to get mentally focused away from all the distractions that can creep in at home.

"It is also a very long season and by this stage a few athletes have picked up niggles. At the camp we will have five key physiotherapists and two massage therapists, which will enable us to get rid of those niggles and get our athletes to the championships in prime physical condition. If the athletes were spread far and wide, we would simply not be able to do that.”

With less than two weeks to go before the World Championships start in Osaka, the Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland team have got the best facilities and support team to prepare them for this year’s most important event on the athletics calendar.