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Reed Athletics Fund – Interview with Christabel Nettey
 
The Reed Athletics Fund is excited to sponsor Christabel Nettey, a 24 year old long
jumper who grew up in Surrey, British Columbia. On July 24, at the Pan American Games in Toronto, she jumped an exceptional 6.90 metres to win a gold medal for Canada. Next up for Christabel are the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China in late August. She is heading into the Worlds with a great deal of confidence and momentum. She is already the Canadian record holder with a personal best jump of 6.99m. On July 30, we sat down with Christabel to chat about her past, present and future.

 

Reed Athletics Fund (RAF): Tell us about how you got started in track.
 
Christabel Nettey (Nettey): When I was 10 years old, I started competing in multiple events for my elementary school. My older sister Sabrina was really good, so my dad decided to sign her up for track club and signed me up as well. Back then I was in it for the social aspect. I did every sprint and jump. When I was 13, the elite group coach came to me and told me it was time to start taking track seriously. At age 14 I made the world youth games in the long jump and 100 metre hurdles.
 
RAF: When did you realize track was something you could be really good at?
 
Nettey: When I was 14 years old at the Jack Brown meet in Kelowna. There was one girl who used to win my events all the time. I beat her in the 100m that day. I felt “wow” this is something I can be good at.  As good as my sister, and she was really good. 
 
RAF: Tell us a bit about your experiences at the university level.
 
Nettey: I attended Arizona State University in Phoenix and focused on long jump and hurdling. ASU was a great stepping stone for me. I had some great success there winning the PAC 10 and PAC 12 championships in long jump, and I was the conference athlete of the year in my senior year. I also had a second place finish in the 2013 NCAA indoor championships.
 
RAF: Now you are competing internationally and performing exceptionally well. Tell us about your recent gold medal at the Pan American Games in Toronto.
 
Nettey: It was so exciting. I have never been the favorite in such a big event before, and I was happy I was able to perform under pressure. It was great to win in front of my family and friends. It gives me a lot of confidence going into Worlds.

RAF: What are your goals for Worlds in late August?
 
Nettey: I want to get on the podium. During the last Worlds I was young and not that consistent, and I didn’t make the final. This year I’m consistent, and I deserve to be there. Winning gold would be a perfect end to my season, but my main goal is to get on the podium.
 
RAF: How are you preparing for Worlds?
 
Nettey: I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary. There have been some times this season when I’ve been traveling and haven’t been able to train consistently so, now that I’m back in Phoenix, I’m getting back into my regular training schedule. I’m doing some hard workouts now, but nothing too crazy.  I’m just maintaining.
 
RAF: What are your goals for the 2016 Olympics?
 
Nettey: I am going for gold. I feel like if my season next year goes well, there’s no reason I can’t reach the top of the podium.
 
RAF: That’s fantastic! You are definitely building momentum towards your goal. What details can you share with us about how you train?
 
Nettey: I train in Phoenix for most of the year. I follow a three day on, one day off cycle. For example, on a Monday I might do a hard warmup, some 30m sprints and then some weight room activation. On Tuesday I will do full approaches and jumps. Afterwards I will sometimes do plyometrics and sometimes medicine ball work. On Wednesday I will do a 50m/70m/80m sprint ladder or a 70m/80m/90m sprint ladder, followed by a hard session in the weight room. Thursday would then be a day off. In the weight room I will work on Olympic-style lifts like the power clean or snatch, and also many other exercises like upper body pressing, plyos, box jumps, heavy box step ups and calf raises. For nutrition, I have guidelines to work with, and I have figured out what works for me within those guidelines.
 
RAF: What is it like to train under your coach Dan Pfaff?
 
Nettey: It works really well. I caught on quickly to his style of long jumping. It makes sense to me, and I understand where he’s coming from. Now it’s just about fine tuning things.
 
RAF: How would you describe your mental approach to competition?
 
Nettey: I’m very relaxed, calm and focused. I’m not hyping up meets in my mind. When you’re doing well there’s a natural confidence. Now I’m never worried about anything. I can just perform and have fun.
 
  
RAF: Does being the favorite have an effect on you?
 
Nettey: No, I’m still the same person, still me. I just love to long jump, I don’t think about the rankings. In track you can’t do that. I don’t count anyone out.  
 
RAF: We should also cover some of your community involvement. 
 

Nettey: Sure, when I’m back home in Surrey, B.C., I work with the Universal Athletics Club starter program. This is a program for very young kids, and they are so excited to be there. I’m often helping them with the hurdles, and it’s great to see them succeed. My dad works with the club as well.
 
RAF: Finally, what impact will the funding from RAF have on your life?
 
Nettey: Well, I train in the U.S., where I am not legally able to work. The funding from the Reed Athletics Fund is really important to me. It reduces stress. Nobody wants to be stressed about how you’re going to get enough money to live. I was very excited to be chosen as a Reed Athletics Fund sponsored athlete!
 
RAF: Christabel, thanks for the interview.  We have some great material here to share with our donors.  Good luck with your training and the upcoming Worlds in Beijing!
 
Nettey:  Thank you!
 
 

 

Kelly Weibe: 

Before I came up to Flagstaff in June, I sat down with my coach, Richard Lee, and we discussed my goals and “key races” for this coming fall. As an elite runner, it is important to understand your goals for each block of training, and the “process” that is required to compete at your best during a specific period in the block. Competing at your best during a specific period of the year is called “periodization,” and this is why I have a coach. Rich structures my training so I am at my very best (a.k.a my peak) at a specific time of the year. Generally, an athlete will only try to peak once or twice, maybe three times a year, and with the Olympics just around the corner, and with only be a few opportunities to hit the Olympic “A” standard, I am planning on hitting one of these peaks in December at a high quality 10,000m race in Australia.
 
Over the last five weeks I have put in some solid work up at altitude in Flagstaff Arizona, and have been really enjoying the “process.” Training has been relatively consistent with only a few minor hiccups. The minor hiccups are mainly due to my inexperience with training at altitude. Where at sea level I could get by with running my recovery days at 6min/mile fairly easily, it has taken a toll on my body at altitude. My body was feeling great the first three weeks, but in the last two I have felt a gradual decline in energy and an increase in overall fatigue. I happened to “race” in a little six-mile race in Santa Cruz California last weekend, and needless to say I felt off. My tired body caught up with me, and I put forward a lackluster performance at best. Luckily, I realized my mistake and have been scaling back the workload the last week, which has allowed me to recover and continue to progress. It’s times like these where it is important to look back on the goals that you made earlier in the year. For me, I want to be running fast in December, where I will have a good opportunity to run a personal best, and a time that will put me closer to my Olympic dream. I am not happy about the way I raced last weekend, but in order to keep improving sometimes it’s crucial to have a short memory. I will be looking for redemption in a 10,000 meter track race in Portland next weekend (August 9th). 
 
I came across a good quote in my readings, which made me think I should incorporate a quote of the month. 
 

A lot of people think that failure is a step backward. NO. They couldn't be more wrong. Failure is a step forward in the right direction. Every time you fail, you learn what DOESN'T work. You gain something from it. You feel less anxiety when you try again. Failure, believe it or not, is progress in every sense of the word. Failure is not fatal, nor is it permanent. Don't confuse your results with who you are.
 
 
 

Christabel Nettey:  

July has been the busiest month of this season as I competed in the Canadian Trials, two Diamond League Meets and the PanAm Games. July 2, I competed in Edmonton at the Canadian National Championships which doubled as the qualifying meet for the World Championships in August. I jumped a windy 6.76 on my first jump taking the lead, and eventually win, right from the start. Knowing that I would be travelling to Europe early the following week, for two back to back meets, I opted to only take two jumps and save my body from the avoidable toll of four other jumps. Managing pain in my back and hamstring also played a big role in my decision to do two jumps as it was unnecessary to possibly create more problems for myself when I already had the lead.
 
The next week, I hopped on a plane and headed overseas to Lausanne, Switzerland. With a long day of traveling, jet lag had hit me pretty bad and during my shake out I noticed my hamstring was still bothering me. On competition day, I was not feeling very explosive on the runway however, I was able to muster out a 6.68m jump in the 6th round for a 3rd place finish and one point towards the Diamond League race. I was not happy with the result of that meet or that I was in a state of discomfort. I knew I needed to brush it off and head into the next meet with a fresh perspective.
 
The next morning, I headed to Cologne, Germany where I was based in between meets. While I was in Germany I saw a therapist who diagnosed me with having a pinched nerve in my back which he said to be the source of pain in my leg. I was given medication to calm the nerve but the side effects made me very drowsy and tired, and unfortunately leading up to the meet I wasn't able to train as much as I would of liked. After four days on the nerve medication, the pain had lessened but was still there. Regardless, I was taken off the medication in an attempt to get back some energy. Luckily, I was able to get two good training days in before I headed to Monaco, Monte Carlo. This would be my final European Diamond  League Meet, before heading back to North America. It was my first time in Monaco and believe me it a sight! High end cars everywhere, yachts just coasting in the water, it was something you only see in movies!  
 
With competition day around the corner, I was feeling better mentally and physically. Despite my high hopes for this meet, I only jumped 6.68m for fourth place. I was disappointed in myself because I wasn't able to make adjustments throughout the rounds to put together one solid jump. On top of that, it was my lowest placing in a Diamond League Meet and I failed to gain any points towards my Diamond League standings. I was frustrated and upset with myself, but my coach assured me that I just needed to get my runway timing back, and with that things will come together.
 
The following morning I was back on a plane and headed across the Ocean to Toronto for the PanAm Games. The atmosphere at the athlete village was surreal. It was crazy to think that this would be my first big international meet on home soil! In a few days my friends, family and long time supporters would get to watch me compete with hopes of getting that coveted PanAm medal. For the next few days, focus was a big part of my training. I knew I had the ability to jump far but my confidence had been shaken from my past unsatisfactory performances. I had to remind myself of what I was capable of and keep my nerves calm throughout the week. After a week of watching my fellow Canadian teammates dominate on the track and in the field, Friday finally  came and it was my turn to proudly represent my country.
 
One by one the announcer introduced all the jumpers in my flight. When he said my name, "Christabel Nettey from Canada!," the crowd let out a thunderous roar. I could hear the excitement and passion in their screams as they echoed throughout the stadium. Chills ran through my body as I waved back to the crowd with pride! It was 'Go Time' and I was ready to perform. I opened up with a solid jump of 6.81 which immediately boosted my confidence. Following the first round of jumps I had a significant lead, which allowed me to go into the next set of jumps with less pressure on myself. With my sixth and last jump, I was finally able to put it all together and jumped 6.90 to secure my gold medal.
 
Capturing gold was the perfect way to end my series of meets, before heading back to Phoenix to continue training for the World Championships.  I am now in Phoenix and training has been going well. I was able to get some rest and allow my body to recuperate from the PanAm Games. Before heading to camp in South Korea, I will be making a trip to see my sports doctor in Vancouver to make sure my body is in tip-top shape going into World Championships. Once in South Korea, I will spend 4 days at camp with the other Canadian athletes and then we will travel to Beijing for World Track and Field Championships where I will be competing Aug 27/28. From Beijing I will be heading to Zurich for the final Diamond League meeting.
 
I am in the final stretch of my season where all the hard work that has been put in has a chance to shine. I am hoping for a podium finish in Beijing, but of course gold would be ideal. As long as a stay focused and healthy I believe I can accomplish this!

Reed Athletics Fund Seeking Additional Monthly Subscribers 

 

The Reed Athletics Fund is the first non-profit of its kind, founded and funded by a Canadian Olympian. Its mission is to provide financial and other support to Canadian men and women attempting to participate in the Olympics and World Championships in the sport of track and field during the developmental phase of their sporting careers.To fulfill its mission, RAF relies on the financial support of donors.  Since the founding of RAF on June 28, 2011, all donors have been essential in allowing it to begin fulfilling its mission. In the long term, to ensure RAF's growth and sustainability, it will require additional monthly subscribers.

Due to RAF's projected monthly commitments to its athletes, monthly subscribers are of special importance to ensuring its sustainability and growth. Monthly subscribers allow RAF's board of directors to make better projections about its ability to fund athletes.

Those considering whether they should subscribe on a monthly basis should understand that they will be making a significant and direct impact on the lives of sponsored athletes.  For example, a monthly subscriber contributing $85 per month ($1,020 per year) will personally be funding over 10% of RAF's commitment to one athlete. Due to RAF's lack of overhead (all directors and officers are working strictly on a volunteer basis), that money will flow through to the athlete.

To become a monthly subscriber, please proceed to the donation section of our website, which can be found at:

http://reedathleticsfund.ca/donate.html#.Ub8aEvnqlcQ 

A commitment of as little as $25 per month will make a big difference to RAF's success.

RAF would like to specifically thank the following monthly donors:

Aimee Jessop

Alistair Taylor

Cathy and Frank Quinn

Cliff Proudfoot

Derek Evely

Dylan Armstrong

Gord Baizley

Marcel Hewamudalige

Michael Booth

Miro Oballa

Robert Guy

Robert Mccormack

Susan Snell

Wynn Gmitroski
Ursula Schmelcher
Harri Jansson
Nigel Hole 
Regan Bosch
Mackenzie Stonehocker


 

RAF would like to thank our founding partner Lawson Lundell for continuing to support RAF
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