For 5 days in January, the City of Cambridge played host to 13 Olympic hopefuls from Archery Canada’s High Performance Recurve program. This training camp was held under an Ontario government exemption that enables high performance athletes to continue training during the provincial lockdown in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games and the continuing qualification process. The camp took place at the ComDev Indoor Soccer facility in Cambridge under rigorous safety protocols both prior to and during the training camp.
Why Waterloo Region
According to Alan Brahmst, High Performance Advisor at Archery Canada, there were three main reasons why they chose Waterloo Region to host this camp.
“For our athletes, centralization is key to success,” says Brahmst. “Waterloo Region is an attractive location for us because it has a lot to offer.” Not only is the region’s location central to Archery Canada’s current home training facility in Peel Region, Cambridge’s ComDev centre provided a larger facility which allowed the training camp to create the desired competitive environment for the athletes while also providing enough room to adhere to required safety protocols. Brahmst says Archery Canada was also impressed with the degree of cooperation they experienced when setting up the training camp. “Everyone we worked with (in Waterloo Region) was very accommodating,” he explains. Working together with the Sport Hosting Office at Explore Waterloo Region, the City of Cambridge and Region of Waterloo Public Health, Brahmst says everyone came to the table and worked together to put all the required pieces in place so the camp would run safely during the lockdown. That level of support also extended to other areas of Archery Canada’s 5-day camp. For instance, Brahmst said hotel staff at the Cambridge Hotel & Conference Centre worked with them on every aspect of their stay, accommodating food requirements for the athletes, providing the team with a separate wing for their stay for safety purposes, and even making adjustments on the fly as required. The team at the ComDev centre were also great to work with, Brahmst says, which made getting the camp up and running easy from a logistics standpoint.
Strength and conditioning workouts took place at the A.R. Kaufman YMCA – which Brahmst says is a great facility – and provided the athletes with access to a range of equipment similar to what they were accustomed to at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario.
Waterloo Region – An Ideal Training Camp Location
Head Coach for Archery Canada’s high performance Recurve program, Shawn Riggs, feels Waterloo Region is ideally suited for this type of camp. “With three major educational institutions located here, a more affordable cost of living, and close proximity to Toronto and Pearson airport, it’s ideal,” the Kitchener native says. “I would love to see more sports make use of the area for camps, competitions or even as a permanent home for their programs.” With the Olympics drawing closer, holding a camp where athletes could train in a more competitive environment was critical. “There is no replacement for high level competition, and we certainly saw some of that last week,” says Rigg. “This camp was the first time we have come together as a group in 12 months. It created a pressure opportunity that our athletes were able to leverage to test themselves and their protocols.” Despite an unusual training year for the program, Riggs says he came away from the camp feeling optimistic. “Our women’s program continues to show progress and our men’s program had its strongest performance ever with at least 6 men showing they are ready to compete at the international level.”
Looking ahead, Riggs hopes to hold more camps in the region, and sees the possibility for additional partnerships between Waterloo Region and Archery Canada as they look towards the future. “We continue to look for property and/or facilities that would help us make the region a more permanent home for our athletes,” he says.
Alan Brahmst agrees, and says discussions surrounding future camps and events in Waterloo Region continue. “We’re looking forward to confirming a return to Waterloo Region,” he says.