Paralympic Assignment for Sport Wales staff
Sport Wales staff will play a key role in supporting the body and minds of British Paralympians in their bid for medals in Rio.
Senior Sports Psychologist Cath Shearer and Lead Performance Nutritionist Olivia Busby have both been selected as part of the support team for ParalympicsGB.
The pair will be room-mates in their base at the team’s preparation camp in Belo Horizonte, the base before travelling on to Rio for competition.
“It has been a two year process from applying for the role.” said 38 year-old Cath Shearer, originally from Swansea but now living in Cardiff.
“I’ve been to Belo twice as part of the planning for the Games. The first time was to look at the environment and the hotels for the athlete because our priority is to give them the best possible experience and environment before the competition.
“On the second trip, a year out from the Paralympics, we held a test camp to go through many of the things we would put in place when it comes to Games time and look at any challenges we might face.
“I want to help give the athletes the best possible experience of being part of ParalympicsGB and give them the best start possible before they compete.
“It’s tough being away from family and particularly because one of my sons will have his birthday when I’m in Brazil, but I am focussed on doing the best job I can with the rest of the team.
“Everyone thinks that the beaches played a part in my decision to apply for the role, but having red hair means that sitting in the sun is not one of my favourite things to do. That and being an hour away from Rio!”
For 30 year-old Olivia Busby originally from London and now living in Cardiff, it is the Brazil experience that is something to look forward to.
“I’ve been to Brazil twice and been liaising closely with the chefs at the restaurants and venues that the athletes will be using during their stay in Belo. It’s important that the athletes have exactly what they need before competing.
“I’m really looking forward to being around the athletes and the team behind the team. It’s quite an exciting prospect to be part of such a major event.
“I’ve had experience of these events in the past, and it can be very busy. It’s important to keep our own energy levels high as well.
“Having Cath as a room-mate and other familiar faces around will be good because it’s certainly not another day in the office.”