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New Zealand’s surfing athletes are focusing on the positives, despite having to wait an extra year to make their Olympic debut.

Surfing was set to make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, however the Games have been postponed until 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I think there are two ways you can look at the postponement. You can embrace the news and use it as another year to get better, or you can dwell on it,” said Ella Williams.

The 25-year-old Whangamata local has provisionally qualified for Tokyo 2020 and says she’ll be using the extra year to make sure she’s even more prepared to compete at the top of her game.

“I see it is a great opportunity to be my best self and be in a better place both mentally and physically. I’m definitely excited for next year’s Olympic Games.”

Williams has been enjoying spending time with her family in lockdown, while also taking the time to practice habits she’s been keen to adopt for years.

“I’ve been getting into yoga and meditation, which are two things I have wanted to improve on in the past two years, so now is a great opportunity to do so. No excuses.”

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Williams is fortunate to have avoided significant changes to her workout regime as the local gym has supplied her with equipment to get through the next few weeks.

“I’m lucky in the sense I have the equipment to keep me moving and training. It means I don’t have to do any DIY or makeshift jobs with household items.”

However, not being allowed in the water has presented its own challenges for Williams to navigate.

“I can’t practice out on the water so I‘m tapping into techniques like visualisation, which has been key for me.”

Mind surfing while watching surf videos has helped Williams deal with time away from the water, but she’s itching to get back amongst the waves and back into the sport she loves.

“It will all be over soon; we just have to ride it out.”

“Post lockdown I’ll be the first one out there. I can’t wait to be back in the water but I’m enjoying a bit of downtime in the meanwhile.”


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