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Evania Pelite: ‘Rugby sevens is driving requirements for girls’s recreation in Australia’

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Evania Pelite: ‘Rugby sevens is driving requirements for girls’s recreation in Australia’


Heading to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, Evania Pelite’s recognition changed into no longer solely returning to Australia with a gold medal packed in her baggage. She and her teammates have been equally rational in exposing the sport of rugby sevens to the relaxation of the sector and doing their best to encourage a new technology of ladies to select an oval-formed ball.

Fast-forward three years, and with the Tokyo Games just one year away, things have changed for the 24-year-old from Brisbane—and the game. After Australia secured that gold medal while the game debuted at the Games in Brazil, the sevens are upward. Pelite can concentrate absolutely on winning lower back-to-lower-back Olympic titles in Japan.

We did our activity in Rio by organizing rugby sevens, no longer only a male-dominated sport. However, a female sport,” Pelite tells Guardian Australia. “You’ve got young ladies that now apprehend rugby sevens and that there’s a pathway to becoming an Olympic rugby sevens player.

“We got here out with that purpose. Winning the gold medal became outstanding for us, but the year of gaining – and now having to again it up – has shifted the focus. Pelite, who took up the sport simplest after transitioning from touch football at the late age of 17, sees herself as a pioneer in a game that has struggled for mainstream publicity, no matter a long and storied records relationship back to its roots in 19th century Scotland. Women’s sport has particularly emerged into the spotlight, surprisingly, lately, helped largely by its inclusion as an Olympic game for the first time in Rio – and by Pelite and her teammates’ subsequent feats.

The guys’ recreation became covered in the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 1998. Still, girls had to wait until last year’s debut on the Gold Coast. The event proved a huge achievement, even supposing it ended in a gut-wrenching defeat for Pelite and Australia within the final in opposition to New Zealand.

Sevens is truly at the up,” Pelite says. “We’ve usually checked out sevens being the front runner for women’s recreation – we were one of the first to become complete-time expert [female] athletes in Australia; we also were given pay parity with the guys last year. I feel that Sevens is currently a requirement for girls’ sports activities in Australia. At the entity of athletes, Australian dispatches to Tokyo may additionally eclipse the contingent of 482 despatched to Athens in 2004, so far the maximum sent to distant places Games. The subsequent year will be Australia’s most gender-balanced Games in Olympic history, with ladies making up 49% of the athletes.

It’s top-notch for younger women so that you can see their appearance and understand that there’s an identical opportunity for them to symbolize Australia in an Olympics and recognize that women compete for 50% of the medal tally,” Pelite says. “It’s awesome popularity for the difficult paintings the ladies installed.

Pelite understands her position as a position version of younger human beings throughout Australia and the sector, an honor she no longer takes lightly. “We all recognize being within the limelight. You’re going to need to sell it nicely,” she says. “There are continually human beings watching you – grown men and women, however, also younger girls and boys – that still have aspiration. We can show them that difficult work repays. Five years ago, I might never have imagined I’d be an Olympian now, so something is possible.

The girls’ sevens crew is one of 3 Australian groups at the side of artistic swimming and men’s archery to have secured their area in Tokyo. The next twelve months might be spent preparing for a tilt at a second consecutive Olympic gold medal. With nine contributors to the squad ultimate from 2016, they have enjoyed recognizing how to cross approximately it.

But something else may be spurring them on the disappointment of that epic Commonwealth’s last defeat at Robina Stadium last year when Australia lost to New Zealand’s golden-factor attempt deep into more time. “That became a heartbreaking loss,” Pelite says. Regardless of the heartache, she can see the positives of what changed into an excellent ad for the game and girls’ Recreate a Year Onion.

As hard as it is to lose that gold medal to New Zealand, it was exquisite for us to show off what rugby sevens is. It became one of the quality sevens finals you could have asked for,” she says. “As much as it hurts my coronary heart to lose, we’re nevertheless pioneers for the game and nevertheless must put on a great display for anybody.”

Erika Norman

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