Goals draw Paralympian to Quebec

SCOTT UNGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Seeking a better training experience, local Paralympic wheelchair athlete Colin Mathieson is moving east in hopes of landing a trip to the Far East in a year's time.

Mathieson, who competes in the 100m, 200m and 400m athletic events, has decided to pack up and go to Sherbrooke, Que. for the next year to train with his coach Jean Laroche in hopes of landing a spot in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

"I have the ability to train under my coach with his direct supervision, rather than correspondence and training camps every once in a while," said Mathieson.

"I train with him in the springtime down the U.S. and I always come back in better shape than when I left. So my thought was, if I can comeback 10% better after two weeks, how does that translate into committing for a year under his supervision?"

Mathieson was a Paralympic bronze medallist at the 1996 Games and ever since then Laroche has been trying to get him to Quebec.

"It was 10 years in the making," said Mathieson. "When he first started coaching me after the Olympics back in '96, he said I should look at the opportunity at moving to Sherbrooke. They have a fantastic facility, there's lots of other athletes to train with and I just kept on saying ... I would think about it.

"Then I started school here, had friends here, had relationships here; everything that would tie you down. I am not in a relationship now and the Olympics are a year away. I figured this would be the year to change it up a little."

While training, Mathieson will still be in school taking sociology and sports studies because "amateur athletes don't exactly make a million bucks a year."

All of his training will be geared toward beating the international and Canadian Paralympic standard in his three events and he feels they are very attainable.

"Through most of my competitions I have continually shown I can hit the international standard," Mathieson said.

The Canadian standard is usually slightly harder to meet, allowing only the medal contenders a chance to compete.

After he meets those marks, Mathieson will have to race in nationals next summer before the Games and place in the top three in order to qualify.

After the Games, he plans to return home.

"I am not running away from anything here," Mathieson explained. "It's just time to go there and be in the best shape I can be."


Videos

Photos