'The Golden Couple'

Sascha Kindred and Nyree Lewis, otherwise known as the 'golden couple' of disabled sport, are two of Great Britain's most successful paralympians of the last decade, amassing 20 Paralympic medals between them including an amazing 8 golds. I am the brother of Sascha and am tracking their progress from Athens 2004 to London 2012. Read about their journey to Paralympic Glory here!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Paralympic World Cup Interview

Well, again it's been a while since I last wrote, but better late than never. To be honest, it's been a pretty quiet few months for Sascha and Nyree as they gear up for this weekend's Paralympic World Cup in Manchester and some further events in the coming weeks.

However, I took a trip to Hereford recently to see Sascha and Nyree and got the chance to ask them a few questions about it all:

Q. A week to go now until the third annual Paralympic World Cup? What shape are you both in and are you looking forward to it?

N: We are both in pretty good shape and have been training really hard in preparation for this weekend so we're really looking forward to it. The last week and the week coming though we've been tapering down a little which basically means that we haven't been over doing it but slowly getting our body's to relax a little before our events. This is a major event for all of the team now being in it's third year and to race in Manchester, in our home nation, is always exciting.

Q. What kind of preparation have you had for the event? And has your coach done anything different in the weeks leading up to this major event?

S: Well, it was hard getting back into training after the New Year but we've now been training for a full four months now with a few events here and there so we've slowly been getting back into peak shape. Our preperations haven't differed that much to our usual preperations. It's really been the same as our the previousl World Cups that we've been in, a mixture of strength and distance training, followed by a bit more speed training and then tapering down.

Q. It must be great for the British athletes to perform at home in the UK. What do you like most about the World Cup being in Manchester?

S: To race in your home country where the whole crowd are behind you is amazing. It's gives you a great aderenalin rush when you see everyone supporting you as you stand on the block ready for the race to start.

N: Yeah, the event is growing now and we saw a lot more people come along to support us last year. If it keeps growing like this, we're in for a real treat in a few years time as more sports and events get put into the calendar.

Q. What events are you racing in this year as I understand it changes every year and depends on what events are selected?

N Yes the organisers change the events each time so this year we have 200 IM for both of us and Nyree has the 100m Backstroke. They appear to chose events that are spectator friendly and will be better races to watch, especially in the first few years as the organisors see how well the World Cup goes.

Q. Will some of your main rivals be there?

S: The top 10 in each event are invited so yes we would hope that our main rivals will be here, however we wont know until we see the start list. We have seen a draft programme and unfortunately it looks like the Chinese have not accepted their invite so for both of us who have strong Chinese rivals it is a shame that we will be unable to race them so close to Beijing. There will still be some tough competition there though.

Q. Do your rivals hate you because you keep beating them?

S: *laughs* No, we have good friendships with a lot of our rivals as well as some of them being british so we would hope that they do not hate us. They're bound to get annoyed sometimes as we do when we get beat, but we're all good friends really.

Q. You have a solid three weeks ahead of you know with the British international long course championships in Sheffield the week after the World Cup followed by the in Germany? Is this really where all the hard work and times for Beijing begins?

S: Yes we have 3 weeks racing so it will be hard work but the Beijing programme is 9 days so it will be good for us to work hard over a long period and try to perform throughout.

Q. You are both now regarded as senior members of the squad. Although I know you are both normally well behaved, do you have to set even more of an example now to the younger members of the squad?

S: We are classed as senior members now as we have been around for a few years, so yes, we do need to set examples for the younger members. They do look at our experience and ask us questions when they are at events, especially when it's their first time competing and they are not always sure what to expect. but its not like we are mums and dads or anything (!) so we have a laugh and joke with them aswell. We're not quite passed it yet!

Q. And what about the talent that is coming through in your events?

N: The British team have a great development programme which is identifying and developing young swimmers so that they are the best for 2012 and beyond. There are currently some very talented swimmers who have already made it to international level, some even at the age of 12.

For both of us there are also other swimmers from around the world who are young and posting very strong times at such a young age so the competition is always tough.

Q. I’ve noticed that the BBC have been advertising coverage of the World Cup on Sunday 13th May for two hours. Although there could be more coverage on each evening, isn’t this a good step seeing as there hasn’t been that much coverage before?

N: The BBC have increased their coverage this year which is brilliant as its improving all the time. There has been adverts on to show people what they can expect to see this Sunday and for two hours which will hopefully allow the BBC to show all the sports from the World cup and not just focus on one like athletics.

Q: I noticed that I'm on the adverts with some friends who went to Athens and we're all wearing our Sascha t-shirts! I'm nearly as famous as you know huh!?

S: *laughs lots*. Hmmmmm, get some snorkels and flippers for Beijing and then ask me again.

Q. You were recently invited to an able bodied meet in Crawley. How did you do?

N: We were in heavy training during this meet so to swim strong races was very good. It is great to race in a new 50m pool and another great facility opened in the build up to 2012

Q. If you win your events, how will you celebrate?

S: With huge party! Ha, no just kidding. As we're now already looking at Beijing, it's all hard work from here and no relaxing until after the Paralympics. We're also racing for three consecutive weeks so there won't be any major celebrations, just onto the next race. It's all very professional.

Timo: Thanks guys. Good luck to you both.

Watch Sascha and Nyree at the Paralympic World Cup as they show some of the events live on Sunday 13th May at 3.45pm for two hours. Rumour has it that some of it may also be on digital on Saturday but I will check this and let you know.

Any queries let me know.


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