João Almeida was the reinforcement that placed RD Águeda / Ferrão e Guerra in the dispute for the top positions in the national road and cross-country competitions also in male seniors. At 23, he was doing his best season, as he admits, when the pandemic caused the suspension of competitions
The competitive calendar was interrupted precisely in the week in which the national cross-country was to be played in Vale de Cambra. Until then, João Almeida had been ranked 10th in the national road (with a personal record in the 10kms of 29m56s) and 9th in the national cross country, at Jamor and Figueira da Foz respectively, competing head to head with the best in the country. He was also crowned district champion in these two disciplines, winning with great authority, to which he added the 2nd place in the district of cross country.
LOOK FOR EVOLUTION
Without competing since mid-March, João Almeida has been “focused on training” with the aim of “always looking for” evolution ”. It has two daily sessions, the first at 5:30 am and the second after a day at the end of the day.
"Although there are no competitions, and sometimes it is difficult to keep my spirits up, I have always enjoyed training … it is something that gives me pleasure", he referred to RA. "I also took the opportunity to review some races that I had this season".
The biggest consequence that the pandemic brought him was “not being able to train with my training colleagues and not having the coach present”. But there is another condition: “Always having to train in the same place and sometimes not having areas where you can do that specific training I have in the plan, trying to find an alternative”.
For João Almeida "training alone sometimes has its advantage: we can hear our body, we can see how it reacts to training stimuli".
The longed-for return to competition “is uncertain”. “I am hopeful that it will still be possible to compete in the summer, at least to hold track competitions. It was something that I really wanted this time. I really wanted to do the 10,000 meters on the track and try the minimums for the European Cup ”.
A PASS THROUGH SPORTING
João Almeida started athletics at the age of 9 at the club in his village – ADC Macieira de Sarnes – where he spent seven seasons. At 17 he signed a contract with Sporting, remaining four seasons.
Joined 2019/2020 in RD Águeda. "It has been a fantastic time," he said. “Entering Recreio de Águeda was a challenge, because it was a change of club and coach. Everyone knows Recreio de Águeda, it is a team with several medaled athletes at national level from the youth to the veterans. It is a relevant team at national level. I felt that I needed a change, I wanted to stop being considered a 'popular athlete' and start discussing big competitions. That's why I embraced this project ”.
The 23-year-old said that initially the goal was to achieve a good result individually and collectively in the district and national road and cross country. However, “as the preparation for the competitions progressed, I felt better and decided to raise the bar a bit: try to win all the districts and get into the top 10 nationally, which would be difficult but not impossible in the beginning” .
The objectives were being largely achieved. "I consider myself to be very competitive and when I get to the competition I can abstract myself from everything, focusing on the race, and I will be determined", he confided. João Almeida highlights the “team spirit” at RD Águeda. “It is good when a team comes together, we all help each other. The complicity that I managed to create in such a short time with my trainer Ricardo Esteves made me believe in the goals set. All of this helped me to be able to evolve and achieve the results of this season. I am aware that I had a good season, my best to date ”.