Loughborough contributes to first para triathlon coaching course in Saudi Arabia

At the end of last year World Triathlon and the Saudi Triathlon Federation organized the first-ever Para triathlon coaches’ certification and development camp in the region, using content created by staff from the PHC at Loughborough University.

The three-day event, designed to further boost para triathlon in the region, follows the decision to host the 2021 and 2022 Para Triathlon World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

Participants from Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, UAE and Saudi Arabia attended the event, and included those wanting to get a certification in para triathlon coaching, as well as athletes looking to improve their training techniques, learn about equipment, classification and how to get involved in international competition.

The event featured a module entitled ‘Sport Science and Sport Medicine Considerations’, which was delivered by members of the PHC, with the aim of increasing coaches’ understanding of supporting para triathletes, outside of the technical or tactical aspects of swim, bike and run.

Ben Stephenson, Para Triathlon Physiologist at the English Institute of Sport and PHC former RA, explained:

“It is vital that the sport of para triathlon further globalises, and not just in the Middle East. The International Paralympic Committee has a target of competing nations which each sport must meet to be eligible for inclusion in the Games. 

“Para triathlon is currently only represented by a limited number of nations, therefore the sport must grow to more nations. This is only one area of work to support this goal, by increasing triathlon coaches’ awareness and understanding of supporting athletes with an impairment.”

Ali Magboul, President of the Saudi Federation, said:

“We are absolutely delighted with this event, it proves the potential of para triathlon to grow in our region. Our National Federation is committed to providing para triathletes and coaches more opportunities, with the long-term goal of having athletes representing our country at the Paralympic Games.”

Experts in Sport

Ben has discussed his sports science work with Dr Liz Broad on the Para Sports Nutrition podcast, as well as how para athletes could prepare to compete in extreme heat ahead of the Tokyo Olympics on Loughborough University's Experts in Sport podcast: