The Australian Youth Olympic Women’s Rugby Sevens side has had its first major hit out since landing in China for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. And the team made it count.
Twenty-four hours after a light training run and 48-hours after touching down in Nanjing, head coach Scott Bowen put the 12 Australian girls through everything from set plays, kicking, line-outs, scrums and tackling drills.
“I actually think that it’s one of the best training sessions that we’ve ever had,” forward Marioulla Belessis said.
“It’s probably one of the first training sessions that we’ve really had as an actual official team and it was really good. Everyone was switched on and everything was really on-point,” Belessis said as the team travelled back 30 minutes to the Youth Olympic Village singing and dancing along the way.
The Australian side combines players from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. They have had four training camps in Sydney to prepare for the YOG, but when they stood inside the huge training stadium in the Youth Olympic Sports Park, you would think they had always trained as one.
Despite the journeys from their respective states to Nanjing via Champ Camp in Sydney, the Sevens girls refused to let fatigue or jet lag affect their performance.
“I think we rested really well, ate well, and we went out there with a good mindset so that was okay,” Belessis explained.
On a day that hit about 28 degrees by the start of their 9am session, it was the 66 per cent humidity that gave the Aussies a wake up.
“The humidity was something that we’re really not used to- especially being winter back in Australia, but apart from that, I think everyone felt pretty good, pretty fresh,” Belessis said.
“I’m from Queensland and during summer it gets so hot and it does get really humid too, but we haven’t played much in the last few months where it’s been humid at all.
“So coming from where your lungs are so cold because of the air inside them, and then not being able to breathe because it’s so hot- it’s like the two extremes.”
The Australians will face Tunisia and China on the opening day of competition on Sunday 17th August; followed by pool matches against USA, Spain and Canada.
At the Youth Olympic Games, nations can only compete in two team sports- one per gender. Australia will compete in men’s Hockey 5s as well as the women’s Rugby Sevens.