This South African Olympic Sprinter Has Swapped Her Spikes For Rugby Boots

She's flying the South African flag high!


Ondela Mlandu |

When the love for sport runs through your veins, it’s only natural to be interested in more than one sport. Alyssa Conley is an Olympic sprinter and Springbok Seven’s player. She never played a team sport or never touched a rugby ball until April 2019. Alyssa now plays for the women’s Springbok Sevens team and she’s flying the South African flag high. She spoke to Women’s Health about what it takes to be a woman in sport in South Africa.

Alyssa Conely

Women’s Health: Where did your love for sport come from?

Alyssa Conley: I grew up in a family that loves sports. My parents would watch sports every weekend, whether it’s cricket, rugby, netball, athletics or golf.  They exposed my sister and I, to sport and we’ve been active ever since.

WH: What is your take on women and sport in South Africa?

AC: I love the fact that we’re getting more exposure. I do believe that as women we work super hard and we deserve the recognition. Look at the great work of the Protea Netball ladies team. Banyana Banyana works just as hard, our women’s Boks team, the Protea Cricket ladies team and individual women in sport have been achieving great records. I hope that in the future, the gap between male and female sport can be bridged.

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WH: What is a typical day of training for you?

AC: My day starts with a strong black cup of coffee, followed by rugby skills at 7 am. I, then have breakfast around 8h15 with rehab an hour later. The day doesn’t end there though. At 10 am, I have gym followed by a team meeting at 11 am then lunch. After lunch, the team has a video analysis and a field session before we head for pool recovery to end the day.

WH: Do you have a specific meal plan you stick to, to maintain your body?

AC: I stay low on complex carbs such as bread and pasta. I stick to protein, vegetables and salads and I snack often.

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WH: What are your top 4 workout moves?

AC:

  1. I highly recommend push-ups, for those wanting to get defined arms.
  2. Squats are really good for the booty.
  3. Skipping for fitness and a fully toned body.
  4. Walking lunges give you strong and defined legs.

Keep shining!

Alyssa is a walking inspiration, we asked her what words of wisdom she has for young girls and women in the country. “What the mouth speaks the mind believes, the body will achieve. Always remain positive,  you never know how close you are to your breakthrough,” she says. When asked what Alyssa is looking forward to the most about the 2020 Olympics, she said running onto the field with her teammates, singing the national anthem with pride and dominating the games. “I want to inspire young girls and ladies to believe in themselves and stay true to their dreams because with hard work, belief and dedication anything is possible,” she says.

Watch ON: Fitness Health Real Women SA Women In Sport