Cedric Dubler in the decathlon javelin at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Feature Gold Coast, Australia

A day in the life of an IAAF High Performance Training Centre athlete

The IAAF High Performance Training Centres (HPTC) lie at the heart of the IAAF’s commitment to athletics development and provide a centre of excellence for the training and development of international class athletes and coaches.

The HPTC Gold Coast in Australia is the Oceania Area Association’s flagship facility, with particular discipline specialisms in the sprints, middle and long distance events, and throws.

Residents come not only from Australia but across the Pacific region, from many Member Federations.

Tailoring to the needs of an elite performer, every athlete at the HPTC Gold Coast has an individual daily routine.

For most of athletes, the mornings are dedicated to training or recovery sessions, or they may have the morning off as part of a scheduled rest session.

The HPTC Gold Coast residents are multi-faceted and are also seen as human beings and scholars, not just purely athletes, with one of the current athletes there studying externally part time, through the University of the South Pacific, and completing one subject per semester.

Afternoons for the HPTC Gold Coast athletes can involve a training session, or the time may be spent on attending to their general physical well-being, with physiotherapy or massage sessions.

Friends and fishing

In the evenings, the HPTC athletes eat and have the opportunity to relax together, before preparing preparation for the next day.

Days off are precious in a crowded and rigorous timetable orientated around training but they provide a welcome opportunity for everyone to take the time to relax and, perhaps, socialise with friends.

Some of the HPTC Gold Coast athletes spend their time fishing and the Gold Coast is an ideal place to pursue these activities, in fact a perfect spot for this activity exists right next to the HPTC.

Others might spend their free time relaxing on the beautiful beaches for which the Gold Coast is famous, and a night at the movies is always popular with athletes.

Athletes also have the opportunity to attend church services at weekends.

Among the current residents is Australia’s Cedric Dubler, the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014 decathlon silver medallist.

“I’m from Brisbane and have been part of the HPTC programme since late 2011. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have such incredible support and facilities at my disposal over the past four years and it has been invaluable in helping develop me into a strong, clean athlete,” explained Dubler, who is now 20.

“They (the HPTC) have always shared in my long-term vision and goals which has led to a very open and honest relationship. Even when things haven’t been going quite right in my training they’ve been able to guide me back on track without pushing or pressuring me. The staff are role models to me and I can honestly say I owe them many of my successes.

“In 2013, after a massive 20cm hamstring tear and a list of other minor problems, I felt like I was spending more time in the treatment room than actually on the track,

"I attempted two decathlons that year and wasn’t able to finish either of them. I felt like I had gone so far backwards and honestly wasn’t even sure if I would be able to qualify and make the world junior team in 2014.

Support and then silver

“But throughout that year, and with the incredible support from the HPTC team, I was able to come good, post eight personal bests and come away with a world junior silver medal,” added Dubler, providing testimony to what the environment and support provided by an HPTC can mean to an elite athlete. 

Papua New Guinea’s London 2012 Olympic Games representative Toea Wisil is another athlete who has benefited from being able to live and train at the HPTC Gold Coast.

“I have been training at the HPTC for three years now. I am well supported and I have a good training environment as well as access to excellent facilities and coaching. This support has helped me to achieve my recent success at the Pacific Games where I won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m,” added Wisil, who is her country’s national record holder in the two longer sprints and also reached the 2014 Commonwealth Games women’s 100m and 200m semi-finals.

Patricia Taea was the Cook Islands’ only athlete at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 a month ago and even though she did not progress beyond the 100m heats, she lived up to expectations and was just 0.05 short of her own national record.

“The HPTC has helped me develop the skills to manage myself at training and competition without always having to ask my coach or others what to do to get organised and prepared,” commented Taea.

“Along the way, I've met a lot of people and have made new friends. The HPTC has helped me to become more confident and overcome shyness which has helped me improve my self-esteem. I've learnt to feel good about myself and always have a positive attitude in training.

“The HPTC has helped me develop qualities that should stay with me all my life, and benefit me in training and day-to-day life. For that, I'm grateful,” reflected Taea, demonstrating that the HPTC Gold Coast has a much broader philosophy than just seeing an athlete run faster or throw further.

HPTC Gold Coast for the IAAF