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Monthly update from our Chef de Mission

on 09-05-2013 10:00

ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014 Penny Briscoe shares an insight into the planning and activity behind preparing the team for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

In my last post, I reflected on the Chef de Mission Seminar in Sochi where the organising committee went through the details of their plans, from which we could develop the ways in which we operate as a team when the Games get underway in ten months’ time.

This month we have been based back on home turf but the focus has well and truly remained on Sochi, with the BPA’s Sochi Games Planning Group (comprising of staff from the senior management group, sport, operational delivery and communications teams) continuing to address some of the key challenges and on-going preparation needs of our athletes and sports.

Sport debriefs from the 2012 season have taken place and all energies are being focussed on what needs to be done to ensure athletes and staff are best prepared for the coming season and Sochi.

The BPA will be running a two day winter Team Leader workshop in May and the focus here will be ensuring that the Team Leaders have all the information they need to ensure their preparations are fine tuned, and that they themselves are in the best possible position to lead their respective squads in to the Games. Over the two days we will be looking long and hard at what we learned from the Chef de Mission seminar as well as starting to plan for the scenarios that may challenge us next year.

Guest speakers will be an integral part of the Team Leader session with gold medallist rower Dave Smith sharing his insights on how programme staff supported his performance in London. Matt Hammond, Team Leader for Boccia, will share his own experiences as well as his approach to the development of his sport specific support team. I’m certainly looking forward to spending time with the Team Leaders and also to exploring how experiences from London can help us be on the front foot for Sochi!

With the 2012/13 winter season now at an end, attention has also turned to the summer training programmes the sports have in place in this critical period. I’m looking forward to spending time with the Alpine squad as they knuckle down to some serious off-snow training. They have a series of camps planned which will take place at Tedworth House which is one of the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres down on Salisbury Plain. The facilities at this centre are world class and the setting truly inspirational so I’m sure it’s going to help bring the best out of the athletes over the coming months.

Partnerships in sport are absolutely critical and whether it be the indirect support from Help for Heroes or the funding support which the Alpine and Sledge Hockey squads received from the Peter Harrison Foundation this winter, it is clear that this collaboration is having a really positive impact on our winter programmes. I’m sure that the athletes will continue to respond positively to this support and that further progress will be made on our mission to Sochi.

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