Hedges feels Canadians among top competitors heading to London

first_imgAfter a gruelling year of travel and competition, Hedges returned to his home town of Fort St. John on July 29 for some much needed rest, recovery and of course to spend some time with his family.However, the Energetic City isn’t a vacation for the Paralympian, as he spends a significant portion of his day shooting around to keep his skills sharp.He says the time at home also provides his body and mind the much needed rest and recovery period necessary for a high level athlete.- Advertisement -“I think it’s very important. It’s been a long haul, and its going to be a very intense, high pressure two to three weeks as we lead into the Paralympics, which start August 29 and run until September 8.”Compare that to his regular workout routine, which consists of two hours of team practice, following by a trip to the gym, a shoot around, weight training, a balanced diet, as well as the odd yoga, pilates and massage session, and maybe Fort St. John is a bit of a vacation.Hedges, who competed with Canada to win a silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, says he is more prepared this time and the experience of Beijing is helping in his training.Advertisement This will be no easy task, as according to Hedges, international play is a much quicker game, featuring very high quality players.However, Hedges remains confident in his team’s abilities on the court.”I really feel that we have a very good chance of winning this tournament with the way we are playing right now and the way we are working towards the games.”The Paralympian even went as far as saying the goal heading into the games is a gold medal.Hedges says that there is one game that he is particularly looking forward to, when Canada meets Great Britain in the second round robin game, alluding to the high intensity environment playing the host team will provide.Advertisement “Mentally I’m definitely more prepared. I know the rigors of the tournament and am more aware of the pressure that you put yourself under, so I’ll try to deal with that better and focus on the moment and not got overwhelmed by the end process and just work each day until the end goal.”Hedges and Team Canada enter the tournament ranked seventh – ranking that the point guard disagrees with. He says the team, consisting of nine returning players and three Paralympic Games rookies, should be slated in the top third or fourth spot. He says they played very well against the Americans as well as the Austrialians at this year’s World Championships, with both teams considered the favourites entering the Games.When discussing the play of his team, he says the Canadians’ strengths lie in their conditioning, saying the team is putting heavy emphasis on fitness and pushing each other to compete with the best opponents in the world. He also is very confident with the leadership Canada’s veterans have exhibited in preparation for the Games.Hedges says the area his team could work on is defence, pointing out the majority of competing teams have the ability to produce offensively, so the team will focus on defensive toughness. He says that if the team can stay solid defensively, it could wear their opponents down quickly and prove very beneficial.Advertisementcenter_img Sports has always been a passion for Hedges, who grew up playing hockey, baseball and even football, admitting he never considered basketball until following his accident.He says as a huge hockey fan growing up in B.C., he admired legendary Vancouver Canuck Trevor Linden, attributing his own leadership skills to those of the retired Canucks Captain.Until he’s in London himself, Hedges says being immersed in the current Olympics games from afar is actually beneficial for himself as he waits to begin competition at the Paralympic Games.”It’s good to watch and see. It’s good mental training as well. To see some of the adversity they are put through, seeing those situations and thinking about how you would deal with them yourself is a huge help.”Hedges says it’s a great honour to don the read and white jersey and represent Canada, especially knowing that back home he has the support of his friends and family, saying that if Canada does take home a medal, it will be making its way to northeast B.C. for a visit.Advertisementlast_img read more