The journey to qualify for team GB is a long one, much like this years journey to Hungary! So by the time we arrived at the event there is a lot of excitement amongst the team. I think it's fair to say that every one of them had different goals and objectives they were aiming for at these championships. Whether it was to gain experience for the future, a warm up for the world championships or because this was an agility career goal. To do well was very important to each of them.
As team manager one of my jobs is to ensure they are best prepared for the championships. This is one of the challenges I enjoy most about my role and to help me I had a strong team of specialists who I know were called upon a lot.
So when I walk up to the start line with them I really, really want them to feel prepared and ready for their run. As you would expect this is quite nerve racking... but very exciting too.
I've tried to help the team consider what winning means to each of them. For some it's qualifying for the team, for others it's gaining a clear round, for others it's a podium place. Whatever their goals I'm quite confident that the majority of the handlers came home feeling they had achieved their goal or had a learnt a huge amount about their agility performance under these type of conditions and felt inspired to get back in the international agility ring.
Another area of being part of an international team which often gets over-looked is the valuable experience gained by being part of a group of people who share the same interest, travelling over seas together. The team live, eat, travel, compete, have laughs (sometimes tears too) together. New friendships are made, close bonds are formed amongst a group of people who generally only see each other at weekends.
International competitors from previous teams said that the spirit and atmosphere amongst this team was one of the strongest they had ever experienced. This is very important to me and something I will be working even hard to achieve in the future.
This reminds me of a quote by Michael Jordan: