ROAD 2 RIO, A ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
(PICTURED L-R, KAYE SCOTT, KRISTY HARRIS, SHELLEY WATTS)
by Richard Jeans
Philippines, New Zealand, China, Brazil (maybe). A nice holiday, or the schedule for National Champion flyweight Kristy Harris. Either way you look at, it’s time away from home and living out of a suitcase away from the comforts of your own bed and pillow and new environments, juggling diet, workouts and staying mentally focused in the lead up to the biggest test of your life.
A closer look at Kristy Harris suggests more than a National Champ and the ones close to her know exactly why.
After finishing a two week training camp in Baguio, Philippines, a select group from Boxing Australia trained 1-3 sessions a day with the elite teams including running, conditioning, technique, sparring and general boxing all against the cream of the Filipino crop.
“It’s really good for me because there are plenty of girls around my weight to work with and it’s a great environment to be in.” Harris says.
2016. The Olympic year. Once in four years does this happen. The chances to peak at the exact right time can be minuscule, now compact that with four years of planning, fighting, working, training, potential of injury, sickness, plus your world outside of boxing. For women, the ever challenging choice of when to start a family is a tricky decision to make and an important discussion between loved ones. Throw them all in an Olympic year and you’ve got yourself a schedule others might look at and start running for the hills.
So for STING athlete Kristy Harris what is the focus for her?
“No dramatic changes in training my coach and I are just working on things to suit the suspected style of the opponents I’ll meet at the qualifiers. There are always things to work on so it’s just ticking the boxes to ensure I’m at my best in 6 weeks.”
Coach Kel based in Collingwood, VIC is Harris’ biggest advocate.
“When she (Harris) started to box, she quickly began sparring against the boys and hasn’t changed her attitude since.”
With Kel and Kevin (Boxing Australia Coach) in her corner, it’s little wonder the 4 x National Champ is one of the most in form boxers in the whole Boxing Australia squad.
“They’re really good coaches, I feel lucky to be working with them. Sometimes boxers struggle going between coaches if they are getting different advice or telling you different things but they both work together to ensure were all on the same page, it’s really good in that Kel will adjust things for me in the gym to keep me on my program or things that Kevin wants me working on.”
Training at Collingwood for three years, albeit intermittently due to travel, Harris uses Kel’s gym in Collingwood as a second home.
“The support from friends and family is amazing. I recently had a short film done by the VIS for the Road to Rio series and the amount of responses I received is just an examples of how many great people I have following my journey.”
A supportive family and regular ear on the other end of the phone in her brother goes a long way for Kristy.
A start in Rio is the gold at the end of the rainbow, the light at the end of the tunnel, the apex of the summit and any other metaphor there is.
“What am I most looking forward to when I make Rio? That’s easy… Boxing. I don’t think of Rio and think about the country or the famous athletes I’ll be surrounded by (which is awesome) but I’ll be there to box and to show why I’m one of 12 women in the world to be competing at the Olympics in my weight division.”
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