As the countdown to Rio gets more intense, our new feature series will see us putting athletes, coaches and mentors ‘Under the Spotlight’ to find out how training, competitions and indeed, life in general is going.
With less than 140 days until the 2016 Paralympic Games kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, we caught up with Irish football captain Luke Evans to see how preparations are going for the squad.
The talented Irish side qualified for Rio in 2015 at the Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships in England last year after securing a 1-0 victory over Argentina, and they are currently training hard in preparation for the 2016 International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) pre-Paralympic tournament which will take place in Salou, Spain from April 30th to May 7th where Ireland will face Brazil, the USA and Great Britain.
“Things are going well,” Evans began when we caught up with him earlier. “We’ve had some good numbers up training, everybody’s working hard so it’s good at the moment.
“Since we qualified last year, there’s been a bit of a weight lifted off our shoulders now knowing that we’ve qualified and we’re there. Now, it’s a matter of digging deep and working hard to ensure that we achieve what we want to achieve in Rio in a few months’ time.”
“We are preparing as best as we can. As a squad we train on a Saturday, with a pitch-based session in the morning and strength and conditioning session in the afternoon. Individually then throughout the week we do a lot of training based around getting yourself right and getting in the best possible shape you can.
“The tournament in Salou now will be a good opportunity to play in conditions that will be quite similar to Rio and play against teams that we’ll be playing against at the Game so I’m looking forward to that and hopefully we’ll get a good hot Irish summer!”
It’s not just football that Luke has to focus on right now, as he also works full-time and explains that it’s all about getting the balance right.
“It’s about balancing it right really. I’ve been lucky in the support that I’ve received over the years. I’ve been taught how to balance my life well. So that’s making sure that I fuel myself right and that I give the right amount to work, training and to my social life as well, to my family and friends. A very intelligent guy once made me aware of the number of hours in the week, you have 168 so if you use them as best as you can then there’s time for everything.
You can listen to our full chat with Luke here.