April 12th, 2024

Extra training helps Iwaasa’s preparation for Pan Am Games

By Lethbridge Herald on October 12, 2023.

RacQUETBALL CANADA PHOTO/ ANDRE Forget Coby Iwaasa is seen here competing at the 2021 Open Division National Championships in Quebec . Iwaasa has trained for a while for the upcoming Pan Am Games in Chile.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Local racquetball phenom Coby Iwaasa has been preparing for a while now ahead of his third Pan Am Games as a part of Team Canada that begin next week in Santiago, Chile.

“Yeah, I have started training for this quite a while ago and in my prep work I’ve done quite a bit of travel for practice,” said Iwaasa.

“I’ve worked (with) my exercise psychologist too just to help me get into a better mental state and help me try and get into the flow a little bit more as I practice. And in preparation for the Games, I went to Montreal twice and I also was in Guatemala for a little bit of training as well. I’ve hit a lot of racquetball these past (few) months now and it’s been really helpful. I’m feeling probably the most prepared that I could be.”

The Pan Am Games tournament is a two-week tournament and is the longest one for the sport.

“And then it’s in the different environment of it’s the biggest tournament for my sport, which is the impact it has on me, and it’s every four years,” said Iwaasa.

“You’re in a village. It’s like the Olympics for us, where we are in a village with all the other top-level athletes who are also competing for our country as well and this a big deal for us as racquetball players because we really want to podium. That’s been our biggest goal for my partner (Samuel Murray )and I is we want to podium. We didn’t have a very successful last Pan Am games four years ago, and so we kind of have that memory in there and  it’s  driving us to do better for this one.”

What Iwaasa and Murray have learned since the 2019 games is that they needed to play more.

“He’s been playing the pro tour a lot in these past four years which has really excelled him at  the sport,” he said.

“So he’s been amping it up in his own preparation. The biggest factor that (is) benefitting us as we get through this tournament is that  we had more opportunity and more time to play with each other, to understand each other (and) to build up that chemistry, which we might not have had, as much as we do now, four years ago.”

Iwaasa said the competition is always scary in this sport.

“Especially at worlds and Pan Ams because it’s difficult to say who is going to win the tournament,” he said.

“Everyone is so capable and everyone is so strong.  These tournaments … tend to be more dominant or stronger countries. But even those athletes have had unexpected losses in the past.”

Iwaasa won a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games as a part of the Men Team event and him and Murray lost in the quarterfinals in 2019.

The Pan Am Games are from Oct. 20- Nov. 5 in Santiago, Chile.

The Games are a continental multi-sport competition.




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