After training with the Belgium national team, the Croatian team is ready to show their skills at the 2021 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdańsk, Poland next weekend.
The past year, and unfortunately the beginning of this year, has been marked by problems that negatively affected the world of sports. Many competitions have been canceled and training opportunities have been limited.
In all this, there is room for some positive stories, and one of them is the international cooperation of the Belgian and Croatian national speed skating teams.
Talks on the collaboration started back in spring last year during the lockdown, with the hope that the autumn season would start to provide better conditions than the previous one. Although the first plans to start cooperation in the summer had to change due to the worsening of the COVID pandemic, both sides remained determined that the cooperation would be realised.
Croatian speed skaters spent the summer in intensive fitness training to live up to expectations and reach the demanding level of preparation needed to participate in joint training sessions.
Going to Belgium (Hasselt)
On October 1 last year, six members of the Croatian national team (3 female skaters and 3 male skaters) traveled to Hasselt, Belgium, where they were warmly welcomed by representatives of the Skating Federation of the Kingdom of Belgium and members of their national team.
Joint trainings with a much higher schedule of training on ice per week contribute to the quality of training, as they enable a more realistic simulation of conditions in competitions.
Acquaintances and friendships, which have developed among the members of both national teams at previous World Cups and Championships, have enabled the period of adaptation to the new training conditions to pass very quickly and without problems. An additional positive factor in this cooperation and daily training is that the coaches of both national teams are involved.
Together with the Croatian national team members in Hasselt was Dutch coach Ingmar van Riel, with whom they trained in Zagreb last season.
Despite the limitations because of the global situation, the serious approach of all participants and adherence to protective measures allowed training in Hasselt to proceed smoothly and without problems.
Gdańsk, Poland – 22 to 24 January 2021
It is precisely these sacrifices and seriousness in the approach to training by members of both national teams that will soon become measurable, because the first opportunity to prove it is next weekend at the 2021 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdańsk, Poland.