The Australian Women’s Water Polo team are set to call the Sunshine Coast home ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games, with the Olympic squad to be based there from 7 February through to their departure to the Games.
It’s back to the future for the ‘Aussie Stingers’ who called the Sunshine Coast home in the six months prior to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, where they went on to win the gold medal.
While the Aussie Stingers have already secured their spot at the Tokyo Olympics, the pandemic will likely reduce international travel and competitions ahead of the Games. That meant a new home base needed to be sourced.
Thanks to the support of the Sunshine Coast Council, the squad will be based at Coolum using facilities at Kawana Aquatics and 02 Performance along with St Andrew Anglican School, as part of their training.
The Aussie Stingers have been living and training within their home States for most of 2020, with the relocation to the Sunshine Coast the first time the full squad will be back together since April.
Dual Olympian and Aussie Stingers, Captain Rowie Webster, said it will be a very different preparation for the team leading into the next Olympics but the chance to be all together will be beneficial.
“We really enjoy being in Queensland and the Sunshine Coast will provide us with warm weather and ideal facilities to allow us to focus on our training and preparation in those final months leading into Tokyo,” said Webster.
“As someone who has been in Melbourne for most of 2020 and has had a disruptive year when it comes to training, I am very much looking forward to being back with the squad.
“We know the Sunshine Coast was a great base for the Aussie Stingers in 2000, so we are looking forward to getting our next generation of players back to where it all began before that infamous gold medal moment.
“Our normal preparation for an Olympics would see us living and travelling together, mostly abroad for camps and tournaments. But in the current global environment means we are unlikely to travel overseas before the Games, meaning we needed to find a new base in Australia where we could maximise our time together as a team,” she said.
Economy portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said welcoming these visiting Olympic Games athletes was part of a wider objective to position our region as a destination of choice for high performance sports training.
“We’ll be taking the opportunity to showcase our region, training facilities and welcoming hospitality,” Cr O’Pray said.
“The Aussie Stingers’ return to the Sunshine Coast is a great show of confidence for our region as one of Australia’s premier sports training destinations, and I know the community will give them a warm welcome when they arrive in February,” he said.
In more good news for the Aussie Stingers, they will also welcome additional support from experienced high performance consultant Wayne Goldsmith and sports performance psychologist Richard Fryer.