(Ottawa, ON) – Canada’s national wheelchair rugby team wrapped up a successful training camp in Ottawa on Sunday. Fourteen players took part in the camp, which was held at Carleton University between the 1st and 14th of March.
The March camp marks an exciting return for Canada’s national wheelchair rugby team ahead of the Tokyo Paralympic Games in August. It provided head coach Patrick Côté and assistant coach David Willsie a valuable opportunity to bring the team together and train in a high-performance environment, following a lengthy layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Willsie, Assistant Coach
“We honestly didn’t know what to expect coming into camp. So, we came into it with tempered expectations, thinking we would have to be patient from the start. But the team just wanted to go from the start, so we did not have to hold back. They are all in great shape, which is fantastic and allowed us get into playing rugby right away.”
“The team has come a long way. We have tried to implement some new strategies and systems, which obviously takes time to come together. But they are certainly hammering them out now, and I think we’re looking good for Tokyo” added Willsie.
Eric Furtado-Rodrigues, National Team Athlete
“That initial feeling of being back on the court for the first time in almost 6 months was great. It has been a while since we have been together, and it was nice to see everyone ready to get into it and work hard for the full 2-weeks.
“Personally, I’m just working towards getting used to being back on the court playing 4-on-4 because over the past few months I have been training in limited group sizes, which is a little bit different.”
Shayne Smith, National Team Athlete
“The first time I got onto the court with my teammates was just incredible. It’s kind of hard to put it into words really… I missed them… I missed playing the sport. Obviously, training and doing cardio is one thing, but actually being able to get on the court and play wheelchair rugby… there’s nothing like it.”
“Training camp has been amazing thus far. We have learned some new strategies and techniques, as well as gone over some older ones as a refresher. It has really been a while since we have been able to have a training camp, so that has been very helpful for us all.”
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