ATHLETICS: Australia’s athletics section for Rio 2016 has started arriving in Bradenton, Florida (USA) with the 60-strong team to be joined by personal coaches, team coaches, medical staff and management to ensure their readiness for competition at the Olympic Games.

“This camp is about refinement,” Athletics Section Head Coach Craig Hilliard said.

“It’s a chance for athletes to take the necessary final steps to ensure their readiness for competition at the Olympic Games.

“We are taking the athletes, their personal coaches and team management on a journey that will ensure a sense of belonging when we descend on Rio 2016.

“We have worked hard to change the culture of our team camps in recent years and we are beginning to reap the benefits.

Hilliard said the athletics team had employed specific camp managers, charged with bringing together individual athletes in a team environment.

For the leadership group, the coming days provide them with a chance to instil their knowledge on the team’s debutants, who make up more than half the team.

Excitingly, the camp also boasts a daily induction for new arrivals. Each and every athlete will be presented with their green and gold uniform as part of a ceremony that celebrates their selection to the Australian Olympic Team.

“To be selected to (compete at) the Olympic Games is special and we are working hard to highlight this as its own milestone,” Hilliard said.

“Athletes will be presented their Olympic uniforms as part of an induction ceremony and we have also created an environment away from just training to allow for the building of relationships between those with whom they will share the Olympic experience.”

Playing host to the eight-day program is the IMG Academy; a private sport facility with high performance programs for sports including golf, lacrosse, American football and tennis.

“The IMG Academy is fantastic. It offers what is necessary for every athlete, in every discipline,” he said.

“It reminds me a lot of the Australian Institute of Sport, but on a larger scale. The track and its surrounds are world class. The resources for our sport science and medical staff are exemplary, with the equipment available some of the best in the world.

“We also have access to a brand new strength and conditioning centre, and the chefs on site have worked alongside dieticians to develop a nutritious menu, which is critical at this closing stage of preparation.”

Importantly, the personal coach of every athlete is encouraged to attend, providing a crucial opportunity for them to join their athletes across the final preparation phase. This ensures their continued intimate involvement in the closing stages of training for their charges.

“All personal coaches are being welcomed here. We have financially contributed to their travel and accommodation to ensure that our athletes have access to those that guided them to selection right up until they enter the Olympic environment,” Hilliard said.

“This directly contributes to our athletes feeling comfortable and confident.”

The first athletics section team camp induction ceremony will be held on Sunday 31 July, with more than 50 per cent of the team to arrive in Bradenton over the next twenty-four hours.

The whole team will arrive in time for an Opening Ceremony reception on Friday 5 August, with the Seven Network delivering access to an Australian feed of the glittering event at the IMG Academy.