Andy Barrow: 2010WWRC First Impressions!

This is the first of the reports that I’ll write from the World Championships in Vancouver. Obviously this is a very busy time for me so I don’t know how long or frequent these posts will be, but I’ll do my best to keep you up to date on our progress here in Canada.

We arrived on Friday evening and were greeted by tournament staff who quickly transported us to our hotel. On the way, we passed our home for the next ten days, the “Richmond Oval” where the Speed Skating took place for the Winter Olympics earlier this year. The Oval looked stunning lit up in the night sky and the thought of it packed to capacity for our opening game with hosts Canada sent a shiver down my spine!

Saturday was a light day following our long journey. After a free morning, we travelled to the venue to unpack our kit and set up our playing chairs. The Oval was just as impressive on the inside, sporting a vast curved roof with hundreds of spotlights illuminating the courts below. We strapped up and took a quick push around to check our chairs were running properly and that nothing had been damaged in transit. Then it was back to the hotel for dinner and an early night.

There’s always a lot of waiting around at major tournaments, so the squad were all pleased that Saturday was our only slow day. Sunday (today as I write this) was when things really started to move along! Most teams here arrange warm up games with teams from the opposite pool. GB are no exception and at midday we faced off against Japan on one of the six training courts at the Oval. We ran all our lines (as did Japan) and enjoyed a comfortable 58-48 victory. Although you can’t read too much into a friendly game, it was a good confidence boost to beat a side that we struggled with when we last met.

This evening the entire tournament party was bussed out to the “River Rock Casino” for the official opening ceremony. As well as the customary speeches and athletes’ oath we were treated to entertainment from “SWARM”, a local percussion act that performed a drum solo on a kit made from parts of Rugby Wheelchairs! The ceremony was a great occasion and only served to heighten our anticipation for the coming tournament. All we want to do now is get on court and play!

Tomorrow (Monday) we have our final warm up game against New Zealand and then it’s just one sleep separating us from our date with the home team. You can watch it all via live webcasting at…

You can also get regular updates from my teammate, Mandip Sehmi by following him on Twitter (@mandipsehmi). Please get behind us by checking back regularly and posting your good luck messages. Team GB need your support, help us bring home a medal… Thanks for reading!