Aussie women get a taste of Olympic heat in Japan training camp

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by Beth Newman

The Aussie Sevens women are having their first, and last, taste of their Olympic experience before the main event in 2020.

Twelve players along with the team's coaches are in the midst of a week-long training camp in Odawara, where the side will prepare for the Tokyo tournament.

With just under a year to until the Tokyo Olympics, the side is using the week to get a feel for what the conditions and environment will be like.

And 34 degree days with up to 84 per cent humidity are certainly giving the team a handy preview of what they'll be facing in Tokyo, coach John Manenti says.

"Yesterday 34 degrees, 84 per cent humidity was serious but the girls are responding really well, especially considering we're just starting back into the season.

"Until you actually experience, talk about the heat, you can't really fully understand what it will be like.

"Even where we are, we're on the coast, and the humidity slightly less than in the city - it's a very dense sort of feeling, been great for the girls to feel, bust their lungs in that heat conditions.

"When we push them when we’re preparing, we've got a taste of what it’s going to take and how we need to work around that."

Australia's women's sevens are in Odawara. Photo: SuppliedIt hasn't been all training sessions for the side, with the Odawara council also giving them a sense of the local area, one that the Wallabies will also be using as their training base in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Manenti said the local council had welcomed them with open arms in the time they'd been there.

"Training’s been the main focus but Odawara council put on a great welcoming function for us and they had all the kids out, drums and bands performing," he said.

"They also took us on a tour on a pirate ship that was all done up and went for a bit but other than that It’s been pretty low key all footy-focused, two or three really hard training days trying to cope in the heat.

It's been great to get an experience of life over here and with the Wallabies coming here as well, there's a bit of buzz around that.

"There's a real focus on adopting the Aussies in Odawara - both the Wallabies for the World Cup and us for Tokyo.

"It’s exciting to be here and girls love the Japanese culture - we had a day in Tokyo to walk around. It’s all quite exciting and a good way to start the season."

The Aussie women had some time to soak up the local culture in between training. Photo: SuppliedThis trip will be the only preview of their Japanese base this season and Manenti said it was giving the side a reminder that the Olympics were on the horizon.

"Around the city Odawara, you can see Tokyo’s incredibly advanced compared to where Rio was and things look like they're going to operate really smoothly," he said.

"We’re starting to talk about it more, seeing flags in the streets and things that suggest Tokyo is not far away.

"Not that they needed any realisation for the whips to get cracking , but the girls have responded with really good intensity at training, it's been really impressive.

The Aussie Sevens began their 2019-2020 preseason this week with just under two months until the first round of the World Series in Colorado on October 5 and 6.