Guido Bonsen: Just one month to Lyon 2013

The Dutch coach put heavy planning into this IPC Athletics season. Will it pay off at next month’s World Championships?

Guido Bonsen Guido Bonsen of the Netherlands looks on and cheers as his athletes compete in field events at the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. © • Getty Images
By Guido Bonsen

Four weeks with just two competitions and some more training is ahead, which is a big challenge for me as a coach. The results in the first half of the season are only worth something when followed by good results at Worlds.

So the last few days, I’ve been behind my laptop thinking, staring, writing and rewriting the coming weeks’ schedule heading into the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.

We will start the preparation at our national training centre in Papendal and will do the last preparations in Barcelona at the same location we used in preparation for London 2012.

From Barcelona we will go straight to Lyon. The big gathering of all the best athletes from the world after London.

My team and I are really looking forward to this challenge, as we all worked very hard this winter.

It was tough getting back in the normal routine after the excitement of London. But we did well, trained hard when we could and took the right decisions when needed.

When the first competitions started at the beginning of May, there were already a lot of personal bests, national records and world records.

All I could think was: “This can’t be our top shape.”

The weeks following that proved my instinctive feeling, as times got even better, distances grew and the team celebrated record after record.

This progress didn’t go unnoticed. The athletes got a lot of media attention and were integrated into the biggest able-bodied competitions in the Netherlands.

Of course a lot of attention went to Marlou van Rhijn, who is now the fastest female on blades in the world, but also Ronald Hertog’s transtition from javelin to long jump and the distances he achieved got a lot of attention.

The team, as I planned, got better with every competition. We planned a big week of competitions recently that included major national events and the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, which took place at the end of the qualifying period for the World Championships.

We raced in Hengelo (8 June), Alphen aan den Rijn (9 June), Nijmegen (12 June) and then went to Berlin (14-16 June).

Our athletes were headlined at all competitions, as Marlou picked up one of the biggest prizes in athletics in the Netherlands (followed by some discussions that I personally liked).

After the competition in Berlin we announced the team for Lyon and now we started the preparation for the Worlds, where our athletes will compete in more events in Lyon than they did in London.

Four weeks with just two competitions and some more training is ahead, which is a big challenge for me as a coach. The results in the first half of the season are only worth something when followed by good results at Worlds.

Now, I’m curious to see how far my planning will go. We’ll just have to wait until Lyon to see …