JOHANNESBURG – Two-time South African 100-200m double champion Alyssa Conley will be looking to make to her second Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 but this time in rugby boots instead of sprinting spikes.
Conley has confirmed she would be pursuing her dream of playing for the Springbok Women’s Sevens team after spending a week in camp at the team’s base in Stellenbosch. Conley is the seventh fastest South African women over the 100m, boasting a personal best of 11.23 seconds.
“(SA Rugby) reached out to me last year after the World Cup where (Springbok Women's Sevens coach) Paul Delport and the conditioning coach called me in for a meeting,” Conley said. “They were looking for a sprinter because they felt the team needed more speed to compete against the top teams in the World Sevens Series.”
Conley said she gave it a second thought when they gave her a call last month which saw her participate at a training camp last week.
The 27-year-old Conley made her return to the track in 2016 after an injury-enforced hiatus of more than two years and qualified for the Rio Olympic Games.
She raced in both the 100m and 200m at the Games in Rio de Janeiro but failed to make it past the heats.
In 2017 she missed out on qualification for the IAAF World Championships in London and have been battling with injury for most of 2018.
“The aim and the goal are to be ready to play for the Olympic qualifiers in August this year,” Conley said.
Conley said she has never touched a rugby ball or played a team sport until last week’s camp with the national Sevens side.
This means she would have to learn from scratch how to pass a rugby ball or how to take and make a tackle.@ockertde