Entry 2 of an assistant’s web-log of the IWAS Powerchair Hockey World Cup 2022 Sursee
My son and I witness the breaking of dawn of yet another day. It is the second day in a row (O, the horror!) that we have to get up horribly early. Unless we want to skip breakfast, which is a ‘no go’ ‘no brainer’. The reason that breakfast happens, as planned and thus not completely unexpected, at the unholy time of 7am is that a light warm-up training is planned at 9am. Anyone in for a game of 5 why’s?
But, hey, we are not here* to relax in the end. We are here because my son is a player in the Belgian National Powerchair Hockey Team and is as such participating in the IWAS Powerchair Hockey World Cup 2022 that is happening 9-14 August in Sursee, Switzerland. So far, luckily, that prospect (of playing: exciting) but also the weather (pretty hot) and the company (lovely) still make up for those horrific get-up experiences that we have been forced to go through so far.
* ‘here’ refers to the hotel Sempachersee near the…Sempachersee (where ‘See’ = lake because ‘Meer’ = sea**)
The light warm-up training is happening at the training location near the hotel. Allow me to add that next to a number of beautiful training halls, the area next to the hotel also includes a hospital, a research centre (the ‘Guido Zäch Institut’), a swimming pool and various other outside sports facilities for athletes with disabilities. The hotel is actually part of the the Swiss Paraplegic Center (SPZ), which thus comprises all facilities mentioned.
The training is followed by the “document control” phase. If you wonder what that is, you need to know first that next to being selected for the national world cup team (which is a decision made by the national coach based on–let’s say–‘technical’ criteria) our son/athlete (ahum, his father did all the work actually) needed to fill in (or get filled in) and share a number of documents. This included a “Medical Diagnosis Form”, a “Medical Report”, a “Therapeutic Use Exemption Application form”, the (signed) “Code of Conduct” and the “IPCH Classification Consent form”. As a reward for all that hard work we received a “Certificate of Approval for Therapeutic Use” (TUE)”, allowing our son to keep taking the medication he needs to take for his rare disorder without it being considered as illegal doping.
Now the time has come for a jury to verify (one by one) that the athletes are who they say they are and suffer from whatever it is they say they suffer from. They are visually matched against their ID which then in turn is expected to correspond to the personal information on all those uploaded (but now printed) documents and the doping exemption (TUE) following from that.
The next check concerns the powerchairs that the players use during the game.
Note that these are specific machines that are different from the powerchairs they use in daily life. Think how a F1 car differs from the cars we use to commute or to go shopping. The maximum speed of a powerchair during a game should not exceed 15 km/h. To verify that they don’t go faster (because it is a configurable parameter), the players need to drive their machine on a test rig and go full throttle while the computer registers the actual speed. Fyi. this is more scary to witness than it sounds.
After lunch, a second (light) training is planned, but this training session is happening in the real venue where the world championship is actually taking place, the Stadthalle Sursee.
First impression? Omg!
And it is more than somewhat overwhelming to go on the floor that was especially constructed for the tournament in a hall that can contain a few thousand spectators. And this is where our team is going to compete with 9 other teams from around the world: (in alphabetic order) Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.
But, more things need to be checked out. This training is followed by a more comprehensive “materials control” phase. This step holds that all materials that will be used by the players during the games need to be controlled for compliance with the official specifications. This includes the floorball sticks, the powerchairs (remember: their F1 car) and all other ‘equipment’ used while playing, even breathing or voice aids. The chairs were tested again for their speed, but this time not only the forward speed but also the speed when driving in reverse.
And then silly me couldn’t resists asking what it is that the controllers look for when checking out a floorball stick. That was the sign for them to switch from a quick visual check to a thorough, detailed check of our son’s sticks. Aaaaaargh. Some measurements of his sticks turned out to be at the limit, meaning they were barely but…at the right side of the edge. Whew!
Time for a break and some hours and the evening off. Checking in and being checked out is pretty exhausting.
I hope you will enjoy reading all about our adventure for which I envision following episodes:
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 0: Introduction
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 1 (Sunday 7 August): Gotta go
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 2 (Monday 8 August): Checking in and being checked out (part 1) (what you are reading)
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 3 (Tuesday 9 August): Checking in and being checked out (part 2)
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 4 (Wednesday 10 August): Match day 1
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 5 (Thursday 11 August): Match day 2
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 6 (Friday 12 August): Match day 3
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 7 (Saturday 13 August): Play-offs
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 8 (Sunday 14 August): Finals
- IWAS PCH WC 2022, Entry 9 (Monday 15 August): After-day