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COVID vs. Spitzensport ist aktuell noch immer ein besonderes Thema. Was waren für dich die schwierigsten Momente in den letzten Monaten?
MS: die Absagen/Verschiebungen der Wettkämpfe
DANIEL ROMANCHUCK, USA
Currently, COVID versus elite sports is still a hot topic. What were your most difficult moments in the past?
DR: Where I was, everyone had to stay home except for emergencies for a few months, and for several months afterwards things were still quite restricted. All competitions were canceled for almost a year, and it wasn’t safe/allowed to train indoors with other athletes. Not having a normal gym for strength conditioning or being able to work out with other athletes was the most challenging, plus not being able to see my brother and sister.
How did you cope with these restrictions?
DR: I was lucky that I could still train outdoors by myself. I tried to use the time to do things I normally don’t have time to do. I did a series of videos with another athlete about wheelchair racing equipment maintenance for beginning racers, and I started back working on my college degree, taking classes all online. In the winter, my parents and I were able to go to Florida to be with my grandmother, who was all alone, so that was good to spend time with her and be able to train where the weather was warm.
Mentally I normally approach things one day at a time anyway, so I didn’t spend a lot of time getting upset about things that were canceled. I just tried to focus on one thing to work on each day.
Have you altered your life with regard to sports? If yes, what was your motivation to do so?
DR: For the most part I was pushing on my own and improvising strength training, both of which were a big change from what I’m used to. So it was definitely different, but it was a different year, so like everyone, I just tried to make the best of it while staying as healthy as I could. I haven’t trained on a track regularly since about 1.5 years ago, so it’s going to be a transition getting back to that.
You have been in the training mode for months. Do you know your position in comparison with other athletes?
DR: There really is no way of knowing where you stand compared to other athletes until you compete directly against them at an event where you all have the same goal. A lot of variables can affect race times, like weather, track surface, what portion of their training program each athlete is in, and whether the goal is a fast time or a good podium position. Some of these can be different for different athletes even in the same heat. So, no, I don’t have any idea where I stand, and since the goal is to be in the best position for the Paralympic Games and for the fall Abbott World Marathon Majors, I might still not know even after the meets at Nottwil and Arbon, since I won’t taper until later in the summer.
Where and when did you last participate in a competition?
DR: I haven’t been in a major competition since November 2019 - World Championships in Dubai and the Oita Marathon. I have attended a couple of very small recreational meets, but there weren’t other adult wheelchair racers there. There haven’t been any in-person road races either.
We assume you want to qualify for the paralympics in Tokio while staying in Arbon and Nottwil. How relevant are the paralympics to you?
DR: While I have a slot for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo already confirmed, it is still important to go through the process of getting on the start line and competing with similar racers before the Games. Arbon and Nottwil attract the largest competitive field of wheelchair racers in the world, so I wouldn’t want to miss it!
What is your road or personal schedule for the paralympics?
DR: I haven’t decided this yet. I have qualified for the 100M to the Marathon, but in the US we also have Trials where we earn a start right. If I get start rights in all of the distances, I will make the decision about which ones to race at that point.
Due to the COVID situation the Japanese are sceptical towards the olympics and the following para-lympics. In a survey 70 % stated the events should not take place. What would a cancellation mean to you?
DR: Obviously I hope that they don’t need to be canceled, and I would be disappointed, but given the health situation around the world, I would understand if it becomes too difficult to put on a safe event.
Why do your repeatedly participate in «WELTKLASSE AM SEE» in Arbon? What is special about it?
DR: The mix of the world’s fastest track, the world’s fastest athletes, and a beautiful host country!
What is your wish for the event «WELTKLASSE AM SEE Arbon»?
DR: My main goal is to get back in the routine of competing again. I don’t know whether to expect fast times or not, since I haven’t been able to train on a track regularly for the past 1.5 years, but either way, it will be good to get on the start line again!