Surfer Ella Williams credits her family as the reason she’s well on the way to realising her Olympic dream.
The 24-year-old from Whangamata has provisionally qualified for Tokyo 2020 and will have the chance to cement her selection at the 2020 World Surfing Games.
“The moment I realised I’d provisionally qualified I was ecstatic, just so happy and super thrilled. The Olympics have been such a dream of mine so to get to this point is unreal,” said Williams.
Making the moment even more special was the fact that mum Janine and dad Dean were on hand with the New Zealand team.
“Mum and dad both managed the team at the World Surfing Games. They made sure we were eating and sleeping and at our heats on time. They drove us round so we were lucky to have that support!”
Williams says she doesn’t know where she’d be without the help of her Mum, Dad and brother Braedon.
“I’m extremely grateful because I’ve got a super supportive family. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
“If you have a good support system around you they really lift you up. Even in times I doubted myself they believed in me and almost retrained my brain and got me to believe in myself again.
“My parents always taught me if you want something you need to work hard for it and I’ve carried that into every aspect of my life. It’s hard work but it makes you grow stronger.”
The goofy footer has dreamed of competing at Tokyo 2020 since surfing was announced as an Olympic sport in 2016.
“The Olympics are the pinnacle of sport so there’s a real buzz within the surf community about Tokyo 2020. It’s awesome to know that the whole world will be watching and having the whole country behind you is pretty unreal too.”
And Williams is leaving nothing to chance as she works towards Tokyo 2020.
“I’m preparing mentally and physically, training in and out of the water rain, hail or shine. I’m really honing in toward the Olympics because that is my big goal. The good thing is I’ve got time to do that and I’ll be training the hardest I’ve ever trained.
“In the meantime I’m surfing competitively in the World Surf League Qualifying Series which means more heats, more competition and more practice - so it keeps me on my game.”