Watts inspires Aussie Schools Triathletes

Shelley Watts at 2018 Schools Triathlon Festival © School Sport Australia

EDUCATION: Rio 2016 Olympic boxer, Shelley Watts has inspired budding junior athletes this week, as the 2018 National Schools Triathlon Festival took over Sydney.

The 2018 Festival, run by School Sport Australia, includes the Schools Triathlon Championships, as well as the Australian Schools Open Triathlon, with triathlon, aquathlon, teams and mixed relay options available for athletes in junior, intermediate and open categories, as well as Paratriathlon events.  

Watts participated in three education sessions for junior, immediate and senior athletes, who she inspired with her story of resilience and self-belief.

“Shelley was superb,” Ian Landy of School Sport Australia said.

“Her presentation was to the point and left me and the students with many take away messages, and some questions to ask of myself as I reflect on what I want and how I will get there.

“Her story is inspirational on many levels and makes you feel that she has unfinished business.”

Watts shared her sporting journey from when she began boxing in 2010 through to qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The 30-year-old also outlined the steps it takes to become a successful athlete.

“It was great to share my story with the School Sport Australia triathletes. They all seemed very engaged and eager to learn more about the Olympics and how I got there,” Watts said.

“I outlined my heavy training schedule leading into the 2016 Games, including training, recovery and diet and I think this really resonated with the athletes.

“We also talked about how to overcome setbacks and how important it is to be resilient and believe in yourself when your sporting journey isn’t always going to plan.”

Watts, who sits on the Australian Olympic Committee’s athlete commission and is studying to become a lawyer, highlighted the importance of athletes focusing on a balance of sport and education.

“I think it is part of my role as an Olympian to share my struggles and triumphs with young athletes, promoting working hard both on and off the sporting field,” she said.

“While all of these athletes are obviously endeavouring to have great sporting careers, I hope they also understood the importance of education, as a building block for life.

“I hope they came away from the session with the understanding that balance is so important. Anything you want badly enough is worth putting in a lot of time and effort for and hard work does pay off both in sport and in life.”

The 2018 National Schools Triathlon Festival will conclude on Friday April 27 after four days of successful competition.

Ashleigh Knight