Manenti: COVID-19 won’t slow Aussie women down on the road to Tokyo

Wed, 29/07/2020, 05:29 am
John Manenti
by John Manenti
The Aussie 7s continue to lift with a year to go until Tokyo. Photo Karen Watson
The Aussie 7s continue to lift with a year to go until Tokyo. Photo Karen Watson

The Australian Women’s Sevens team is constantly evolving and I have been really impressed with how the squad have taken the challenges over the last few months in their stride.

With the remainder of the World Series cancelled and the Olympics delayed, it would have been enough to throw some real spanners into the works for any goal-oriented team.

However, the pride, work rate and attitude of the Australian Women’s Sevens team has been nothing short of inspiring and has been a reminder for me as a coach of what an amazing group of women we have in our program.

The Olympic dream is on hold for now but it has given our athletes an extra year to get themselves into the best condition possible and we have seen that in spades in recent weeks.

Across the squad we have seen several records set in the gym and personal bests for speed and tackle resets at training by several of the squad.

This is not the action of a team lamenting or wallowing, this is the sign of a young, confident group excited about the opportunity ahead of them.

The return of Chloe Dalton after her time in Melbourne has been a real lift for the team.

Chloe as an athlete has improved dramatically with age with the extras she has been working on for her own game.

Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry have turned a new corner and are constantly showing that age is but a number under our Head of Athletic Performance, Tom Carter with the physical and speed gains they have made.

Evania Pelite and Jakiya Whitfeld continue to lead the way as athletes and the way they continue to enhance their game is an exciting prospect with still a year to go until Tokyo.

We finished the 2019/2020 World Series in second position with two silvers and a bronze medal for 80 points.

The battle within that top five places is incredibly intense and anyone can win a tournament on their day, but we know that New Zealand remains the team to beat with four gold medal finishes.

We have always enjoyed the rivalry between ourselves and the Black Ferns and we will be taking this motivation to continue our self-improvement for when we next meet them on the park.

Over the coming weeks our squad will be competing for clubs in the Jack Scott Cup (Sydney Women’s Premier competition) and taking part in local Sevens tournaments. This will add to their game experience as well as lifting our local Rugby scene with our talented athletes.

As was reported by a few weeks ago we also be allowing some of our players to compete in the NRLW competition later this year, should they choose to do so.

This will give our players the opportunity to continue to get match experience with a new challenge for them to test themselves.

We have an extra year to get ourselves ready for the Tokyo 2020 (2021) Olympic Games and it is a responsibility we relish!

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