Bryn Wakefield 01/06/2021
Ahead of the Travelodge Aussie Spirits’ arrival today in Japan, South Australians Belinda White and Chelsea Robinson detailed their long but rewarding preparation for their final training camp abroad, and their excitement for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Along with White (32) and Robinson (25), fellow state representative Georgia Hood made the trip but was unavailable at the time of interview. Hood is the youngest member of the Aussie team at 20-years of age.
After the postponement of the Olympic Games last year there was some uncertainty whether they would go ahead at all – now there’s just 7-weeks before Australia takes on Japan in Softball to open the Games on July 21st.
“I don’t think it’s had actually a really big impact in a bad way,” White spoke of the Olympics’ postponement.
“I think that best impact has been that we are a young team, so we have had an extra year to train and prepare and get fitter and stronger.
“Mentally, obviously it was a bit of a struggle when it first happened, but overall, I think it’s been a really good thing for our team in particular.”
Due to COVID-19 complications, White, Robinson, Hood, and the Travelodge Aussie Spirit have not been able to play international competitions this year.
Instead, players from across the country have met up and endured several 2–3-week training camps in preparation for the Games.
For South Australia’s Softball stars, the tough situation has built resilience and creativity.
“At the end of the day, everyone’s in the same sort of boat, so we can’t really dwell on the fact that we haven’t been able to get overseas and play,” White said.
“It’s just about preparing with what we’ve got and making the best of the situation we’re in.
“We’ve kind of had to make it more creative and think outside of the box of what you normally would do with all those other games to prepare.”
“I think that’s the main one,” Chelsea Robinson added.
“Just getting creative with training and making things interesting, you really need to make the intensity and adrenaline you’d have in a tournament yourself. “
White, Robinson and Hood have worked amongst themselves and with the full squad to work on a mix of skills, strength, and fitness – as well as heat acclimatization ahead of the predicted hottest Olympic Games on record.
Cardio work in heat chambers has helped to keep the team at the peak of their fitness and ready to take on the Tokyo heat.
“It’s really good, we’ll do a bike session which goes for about 40 minutes of death, but we get through it,” Robinson laughed.
Preparation has not stayed to strictly softball however, with COVID-19 vaccinations a pre-requisite for participation in the games.
The team will also have to undertake quarantine after arrival in Japan and upon return to Australia.
Both Softball stars have made their share of sacrifices to reach this point but are grateful for all the support they have received from friends and family.
Despite their sacrifices and months of hard work, White and Robinson feel as though it has all been worth it.
“I suppose there’s a bigger picture, if you want a gold medal it’s what you do.“ White smiled.