Before 25 March 2019, Olympic sprinter Alyssa Conley had never touched a rugby ball. Then she was approached to join the Springbok Women’s Sevens team, a challenge she accepted. Now the 28-year-old has her sights set on going to the Olympics for a second time.
The announcement this year that South African Olympian and sprinter Alyssa Conley would be ditching the track for the rugby field shocked many who had followed her 21-year sprinting career – especially her family.
Conley says even though Springbok Sevens coach Paul Delport approached her in August 2018, after a race, she only made the decision in March this year after finishing a race and realising it had given her no pleasure.
Alyssa Conley wins the women’s 200m during day 2 of the ASA Senior Championships at PUK McArthur Stadium on April 22, 2017 in Potchefstroom, South Africa. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)
“It was actually at a provincial race where I just didn’t get that feeling when I was on the track anymore. I told my parents: ‘I think this is my last race.’ And my mom was like: ‘What? You’re crazy. It can’t be your last race. Just try and go to SAs…