Former Kiwi Olympian Sarah Cowley had the room in thrall as she delivered the Excellence in Sport programme at Northcote today.
The 32-year-old competed in the 2012 Olympic Games Heptathlon but retired 14 months ago and was delighted to be involved in today’s activities at Badminton Oceania.
“It’s been humbling for me to be involved and it was great to see a few light bulbs go off in some of the activities particularly when the athletes had to think about their skills and how that can relate to future employment. Thats cool even if that is the one thing that take away from today,” Cowley said.
Raised in Rotorua, Cowley is of Samoan extraction and her desire to make a positive impact on athletes from around the pacific was crystal clear.
“It was an excellent day and it was a privilege to present Voices of the Athletes and Excellence for Life programme in conjunction with Oceania National Olympic Committee.
“It is a great opportunity for me to give something back to the pacific community by presenting this course.
“It is important for athletes to have a better understanding that you need to equip yourself for life after sport. We would all like to compete for years on end but our age and body don’t allow that.
“Doing things like today and reminscing on videos and touch points always gives me the feeling I want to get back into it.
“But being on the other side of the fence as a presenter it allows me to say to athletes, ‘Go and enjoy your sport, go hard, but put things in place so its a less difficult transition when you finally stop,” she said.
ONOC’s Ryley Webster said it was clear that Cowley made a massive impression on the programme participants.
“Sarah had a huge impact just by the type of person she is as she’s very approachable, very open and very genuine and she builds a good rapport with the athletes in a team.
“To have someone who has been to the Olympics as an athlete had a big impact on the Badminton Oceania participants today you could see they all wanted to talk with her or have photos at the end,” Webster said.
Tomorrow, the Oceania Mixed Team Championships takes place at X-TRM North Harbour Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.
Stage 1 begins at 10am NZST when New Caledonia faces Guam and Tonga meets Tahiti.
For more information please visit www.badmintonoceania.org