Track and Field | Monday, January 13, 2014
German and Swiss Teams to Train at Willamette Prior to World Junior Championships
Will Prepare at Charles Bowles Track for International Competition
SALEM, ORE. -- Track and field teams from Germany and Switzerland will train at Willamette University’s Charles Bowles Track this summer immediately prior to the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships, set for Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Both teams will be at Willamette from July 14-20.
The World Junior Championships will be held in Eugene from July 22-27. All athletes competing at the championships will be under the age of 20.
Willamette and the Charles Bowles Track were chosen by the junior national teams of Germany and Switzerland after examining their options for training sites in Oregon. Both teams will be on lengthy intercontinental flights to the United States and will be looking to recover from travel and prepare for competition during their week at Willamette.
“We collected information about all the preparation possibilities. After analyzing the possibilities, distances, travel times and prices, we had a discussion with our German colleagues. We have worked closely together with them for a long time in all preparation and medical management questions,” said Isidor Fuchser, the Swiss Under-20 technical director.
“Our decision fell on Willamette because the three key sites are quite close together: accommodation, catering and training. In Salem, we will find all three facilities we need within a walking distance in the area,” Fuchser added. “And the location between Seattle, where we land, and Eugene, where we will compete, is perfect. So Willamette seemed to us like the perfect solution.”
Things worked out easily for Willamette as well
“It was a very simple process,” said Matt McGuirk, head track and field coach at Willamette. “The people at Track Town USA in Eugene (the meet hosts) asked us about a year ago if we wanted to be on a list of potential training sites that they would send out to visiting delegations. From there, the representatives from several countries contacted us and some even visited our campus and facilities. Unfortunately, we were not able to accommodate all of the requests from various countries to conduct their training camp at Willamette. We did arrange an agreement with the two teams.”
"We are delighted to welcome the German and Swiss junior track teams to our campus,” said Willamette Athletic Director Dave Rigsby. “Their choice to train at Willamette is a testament to our outstanding facility (Charles Bowles Track at McCulloch Stadium) and the generations of talented Bearcat track and field athletes and teams."
Fuchser said that the opportunity to practice in an ideal environment immediately prior to the competition will be a tremendous advantage for the Swiss team.
“To succeed at an international championship, it is necessary to transfer the good results of the qualification phase (May/June) to the competition phase,” he said. “The week prior to the competition is one of the most important and is a critical point in the preparation for a big competition … especially when the athletes have to compensate for a 15-hour flight. You need some time to return to top shape again. You have to compensate for the jetlag and also for 15 hours of sitting with only a few possibilities to move."
The international teams look forward to the World Junior Championships as a key event for their athletes who are transitioning from junior competition into challenging for positions on the full national teams.
“The World Junior Championships are only a way station, not the final destination,” Fuchser noted. “In our philosophy, the international junior competitions are intended for the winning of experience. It is a big difference to perform in your home stadium or in a strange environment. Only experienced athletes can compete successfully at a senior age in big competitions. So we want to prepare them in 2014 in Eugene to make good and bad experiences they can use – perhaps in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 (Olympics)."
In addition, many of the athletes will be competing for the first time outside of Europe.
“All of our athletes will compete in Germany, France and Italy prior to the World Junior Championships,” Fuchser said. “In 2013, we sent the biggest and most successful team in history to the European U-20 Championships in Italy. But for most of them, it will be the first competition on another continent.”
Willamette administrative and athletic personal, along with the leaders of the Swiss and German delegations hope that the week of training at Charles Bowles Track will be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
“This event will be great for Willamette and the Salem business community as well, and should infuse some capital into the respective economies,” McGuirk said. “The country representatives were very impressed with our new track and field facilities (during the selection process).”
The Charles Bowles Track was resurfaced this summer and new running lanes were added for the jumping events. The track and field facility has hosted several Northwest Conference championships over the years and is the site for the Willamette Invitational, one of the largest collegiate track and field meets each season
NOTE: Dietmar Chounard, the under-20 technical director for Germany, was not available for comments.
July 22-27, 2014