New parent Brazier has dual goals

Kelly Brazier looks for some space at a sevens tournament in Canada last year. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Kelly Brazier looks for some space at a sevens tournament in Canada last year. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Kelly Brazier is planning a busy 2021. But life has already got hectic for the 30-year-old. Steve Hepburn catches up with the sevens star in the latest of the series looking forward to the Olympics in one year’s time.

Lockdown did have its advantages.

For a professional athlete who travels the world, it may have been the worst of times for Kelly Brazier.

As the Black Ferns sevens team programme for the season went up in smoke as Covid-19 swept the world, Brazier had other things on her mind.

She and partner Tahlia welcomed baby boy Oakley into the world on February 17 and since then the duo have been busy.

"It’s been wicked, really. If lockdown was going to happen then it was perfect timing for me. I have been so lucky to spend so much time with him," she said.

"Normally I would have been away for six or seven times and he might not have recognised me. But I have been here the whole time and it’s been great.

"It changes your life. You might have a tough day of training and things do not go well. But he doesn’t know or really care. He puts a smile on your face."

Brazier (30) was on leave from the sevens programme until October 1 but was still training and will play for Bay of Plenty in the Farah Palmer Cup.

After winning a silver medal at Rio de Janeiro, losing to Australia on the final, gold was the only option for the team at the start of the year.

But that goal has changed to next year after the postponement.

"Obviously it was pretty disappointing.

"There are a number of girls still in our team from our team who lost in Rio. So to work from then for so long to get it ripped away from you, right in front of you, that is tough.

"But there are bigger things going on in the world and you had to understand that. So you had to move on pretty fast.

"We had some time off and now for us it is about pushing even harder."

Brazier said it took her about two weeks to get over the postponement and from now the focus was on 2021.

She had a golden double aim next year. She wanted to win the gold medal at the Olympics sevens and then eight weeks later turn out for the Black Ferns at the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.

The timing was fine. Fitness for sevens helped and she would look to put on a bit of weight for the 15-a-side game.

Long term, the goal was to do another Olympic cycle through to 2024 in Paris and then get into coaching.

Brazier, who first played for Otago while still at Otago Girls’ High School, has been living in Mount Maunganui for seven years, and said she has been there so long many of her new team-mates were unaware of her Otago connection.

She was still highly motivated and the thirst for Olympic gold next year was as strong as ever.

"It’s about not sitting back and keep pushing each other. The team was going so well in the series, winning tournaments and that was building confidence."


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