Vicky Annis, our resident physiotherapist, has just returned from working with the Great Britain triathlon team in Cape Town.
About the athletes
Having already won two races this season, Jonny Brownlee sat out for this event, giving Alistair a turn to start his world champion campaign. Even though he fell during the race, he didn’t disappoint and simply picked himself back up, showing unbelievable calmness and determination to complete the race. He overtook the small group of three and celebrate his return with a victory.
The women’s race took place the previous day and perhaps he took inspiration from the amazing performances by the women. All three British athletes finished in the top ten with Vicky Holland running ahead with 2km to go to claim her first WTS victory. It was her first race back since her Bronze medal win at the Commonwealth Games. Helen Jenkin also returned to the action which was brilliant to see.
The need of an on-site physiotherapist
On race day, the role of a physiotherapist is very diverse. During breakfast, Vicky believes this is a great opportunity to subtly check athletes are happy and if they require any treatment. Duties include being at the athletes lounge two hours prior to the race while athletes have their bikes and race suits checked then they prepare their equipment in the transition area. It’s vital the process runs smoothly up to the point when the race commences.
During the race, the penalty board has to be checked and any penalties relayed back to the coaches. At the end of the race, there are media representatives and photographers waiting for their chance to speak to the athletes creating a challenging situation. Following procedure, Alistair, Vicky and Helen all had drug testing after the race. This process can be rather lengthy as the athletes are usually extremely dehydrated.
Physiotherapy treatment is available to the athletes at any point during the trip – flexibility is key. All athletes are different in terms of what they want pre- and post-race. Intricate details of how joints and muscles move can potentially give the athlete the edge they need to cement all the hard training they have done.
Vicky Annis said, “Being the physiotherapist with the team in Cape Town was unbelievable. I have worked at several World Series races over the past four years and will be travelling with the GB team for the remainder of the series. Each trip has unique memories and seeing the athletes compete is such an inspiration knowing the hard work and preparation that each individual puts in. I thrive in these environments and it gives me continued determination to develop as a physiotherapist. This knowledge and experience is transferable to all levels of sporting activity.”
To find out more about the Kent Sport Physiotherapy Clinic or to book an appointment, please visit our website or contact 01227 824 375.