67 Athletes from Canada for Track & Field Training Camp
Thursday, December 21, 2017
The forecast high temperature at Western Ontario University in January is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So it’s no surprise the Canadian school’s track and field team is excited to pack bags for Bermuda where it’s expected to be literally twice as warm.
“We are looking forward to some outdoor training over the break – hopefully in the warmth,” said the team’s Head Coach Vickie Croley.
She’s bringing a team of 67 athletes and coaches to train at the National Sports Centre beginning January 2nd, 2018, a time when it’s not conducive to practice outdoors back home. The team will stay at Newstead-Belmont Hills.
It’s the first time a track team has taken advantage of a strategic sports tourism partnership between the Bermuda Tourism Authority and National Sports Centre. The partnership has existed since 2015.
Around the same time the track athletes are here, two other collegiate and high school teams will visit the island for swim training at the National Sports Centre pool.
The three teams represent about 150 visitors and an estimated economic impact of $295,000 over a two-week period during the shoulder season, defined as the time from November through March when hotels, transport providers and others in the tourism industry stand to benefit the most from group travel.
Coach Croley said: “This training will kick off our 2018 season as we prepare for the Canadian University Championships in March.
“We will also use this camp to provide some team building opportunities for our athletes. It’s an amazing opportunity to work with our athletes when they don’t have the stress from school combined with training for track and field.”
Western Ontario University learned of the opportunity to train here from a Bermudian alum of the school. The coach made a site visit in September. She was sufficiently impressed with the training facilities and accommodations. Coach Croley also plans to visit some local attractions during the seven-night stay.
The Bermuda National Athletics Association (BNAA) has further enhanced the student athletes’ visit by hosting them for an official Bermuda track meet on January 6th. While Bermuda’s athletes are preparing for this year’s Carifta and Commonwealth Games, the Western Ontario Mustangs will pick up some international competition experience.
Donna Raynor, president of the BNAA, said: “Based on my conversation with Vickie, she’s hoping for her athletes to qualify for some indoor championships. The events that we are featuring are more events that are run indoors as their preparation is for the indoor season versus ours which is geared more towards the outdoor season, specifically Carifta.
“We are both looking for competition for our athletes to find out where they are this early in the season. This is great for Vickie and for us as the timing is perfect for us both.”
“It’s not just lip service when we say the involvement of Bermudians enhances the visitor experience,” said Daniel Johnson, who works on sports tourism for the Bermuda Tourism Authority. “From the local alum who made the referral to the BNAA track meet to the accommodations – all the pieces have fallen into place. It’s a great example of what’s possible when everyone is working together for the benefit of Bermuda’s tourism industry.”