Back to training for sevens star eyeing Tokyo

Published 16 September 2016 (AEDT)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 08: Charlotte Caslick of Australia is tackled by Sarah Goss of New Zealand during the Women's Gold Medal Rugby Sevens match between Australia and New Zealand on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Deodoro Stadium on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. © 2016 Getty Images

RIO 2016: The Rio 2016 Olympics may have kick started an Australian women’s rugby sevens dynasty, with star playmaker Charlotte Caslick back at training next week with an eye on Tokyo 2020.

Fresh off a history making gold medal win only six weeks ago, the 21-year-old already has her sights on the next big competitions.

“I hope if everything goes to plan, I’ll be there in Tokyo,” Caslick said.

The Queenslander joined 11 of her teammates and friends on top of the podium in Rio after demolishing trans-Tasman arch rivals New Zealand in the gold medal match.

To top off the history making moment, it was also the first medal ceremony for rugby sevens at the Olympic Games.

“We’re a little part of history, we’ll be in forever,” she said.

“When you see Olympians you think they’re amazing – and now we’re a part of that.”

After four weeks break, the squad will start training this Monday at their base in Narrabeen, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

“It’ll be good to get back. I start to miss the girls and training.

“The first competition I think will be the Central Coast tournament in October, then the Oceania Championships in Fiji in November and then the World Series starts in Dubai in December.”

Caslick has visited schools in her time off, answering questions and taking photos with students eager to touch a gold medal.

Meeting hundreds of new fans over the past few weeks at school visits, she’s answered every question there is about what it means to be an Olympic gold medallist.

“It never gets old, people keep asking me, but I never get sick of talking about it.

“It was the best moment of my life standing with my teammates, with my family in the crowd.

“It’s pretty funny the questions. The kids are hilarious and they ask outrageous questions. The best question so far is asking what colour our Australian uniform was.”

Caslick has nothing but praise for coach Tim Walsh, who shaped the team in three years to an Olympic Champion team.

“He had so much belief in us. He made us believe in ourselves.

“He made it our own style, an easier transition from touch rugby.”

She said he prepared the team for the reaction they could face should they take home a medal.

“He said we’d be changing things for women’s rugby around the world and especially in Australia. And our team is full of amazing role medals.”

Caslick’s only watched the gold medal winning match twice, once alone and once with her older brothers Sam, 24, and Jack, 23.

“My brothers were the ones who got me into the sport and it was awesome having them look on the crowd at Rio.”

Caslick running down the field to score a try, with her pigtails waving in the wind, could be the inspiration for a whole new generation of rugby seven’s player.

Her advice for anyone wanting to take up the sport is to be fearless.

“Don’t be scared and give it a go. You’ve got to go into it 100%.”

Annie Kearney
olympics.com.au

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