A newly formed informal partnership with the Namibian Triathlon Federation has allowed us the opportunity to invite Nathan and Maja, from Namibia, to join our Welsh Academy (youth & junior) athletes and athletes within our Performance centre as they train this week as they prepare to race in the British Super Series race in Mallory Park this weekend. Nathan and Maja will both be competing in the Youth Commonwealth Games in Trinidad & Tobago later this year and this opportunity will hopefully provide them with some new skills and experiences as they work towards this race.
Our Pathway Head Coach, Vicky Johnston, said “The initial idea behind this trip came about at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games when Welsh Triathlon’s Performance Head Coach, Luke Watson, first met the Namibian President, Roual.
Months later, several of our senior NTPCW athletes travelled to Namibia to compete in an African Cup and the discussions of a training partnership once again arose.”
During the week they have taken part in various swim, bike and run sessions, as well as technical sessions where they can focus on techniques such as transition and run drills.
They have also interacted with some of our local clubs during their time here, including joining the Torfaen Triathlon Club for a swim session.
Speaking to Nathan and Maja, as well as their parents who have travelled down from Namibia with them, it sounds as if the experience has been very eye opening for them and they will take a lot that they have learnt back home with them.
“This is definitely an eye opener. You understand that if you want to take the sport seriously, this is what you have to do. It’s not just running, cycling and swimming. We were quite surprised to hear that they train transitions twice a week and that they do so much specific track work and run drills. You think it’s just about swim faster, run faster, longer.” – Peter, Maja’s Dad.
Both Nathan and Maja spoke about the difference in training set ups in Wales and Namibia.
“Back home we don’t train in groups. Everyone has their own coach and they train alone. And here it’s really nice to join a group and train in these high tech facilities.”
“We don’t have any kind of set up like this [velodrome] in Namibia, no proper training or high performance center or anything like that.”
Overall, the experience has been beneficial for both parties. It has been great to watch all of the athletes bond and share expertise with each other.
“Over the next few years, we hope to make the trip to Namibia with some of our Welsh athletes to continue this partnership as the country offers great off season training facilities at 1700m above sea level. Whilst Wales itself is a relatively small nation, it has been great to help support a smaller nation as they develop and provide opportunities for their young athletes.” – Vicky Johnston, Pathway Head Coach
Nathan and Maja will also join many of our youth, junior and seniors as they race in the British Super Series in Mallory Park this weekend.
Both athletes convey how they are “looking forward” to racing this weekend and how it’s “very different to how we race.”
“Back home you race with maybe six or seven kids in a race, and now you’ve got like ninety. The biggest race in South Africa, we got to race with like thirty kids and we were like ‘wow!’ And that was thirty kids from twelve to fifteen years old, now we’ve got ninety kids just fifteen to sixteen years old. It’s like ‘okay this is going to be big’” - Bronwen, Nathan’s Mum.
Pathway Head Coach, Vicky Johnston, concludes “It has been great to have Maja and Nathan join us in Cardiff as they prepare to race both the British Youth Super Series race in Mallory Park and more importantly, the Youth Commonwealth Games in Trinidad & Tobago later this year. They have been able to experience training with some of our Welsh Academy (youth/junior) athletes as well as within our Performance Centre, alongside the senior athletes too. We wish them the best of luck at the Youth CWG and hope to welcome them back to Cardiff in the future.”