KELLIE White’s Olympic dream is over.
At least until 2016.
The 20-year-old Hockeyroo from Crookwell seemed destined to represent Australia at the Games in London, however her aspirations were this week shattered when the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee ruptured during a closed training session in Perth.
White also sustained a slight meniscus tear. Combined, the injuries rule the midfielder-turned-striker out for nine to 12 months.
“I am mentally drained and feeling very empty at the moment,” said a disappointed White in Perth.
Although hopes for London broke the instant her ACL buckled, White’s Olympic desire hasn’t waned. If anything, it’s grown.
By the time the Rio de Janeiro Games of 2016 roll around, she will be older, wiser, stronger – and still only 25.
The medicos’ long-term prognosis is good, too. “The doctors have told me I was pretty lucky with this injury as I will fully recover with a lot of hard work,” White, who first picked up a hockey stick at the age of four and has since played eight internationals for the Hockeyroos, said.
“I will be staying in Perth for rehab to my injuries and staying focused for my next big goal – the Rio Olympics in four years time.
“I will be even more focused… as I have promised myself I will make an Olympic debut and am aiming for a medal.”
The Laggan Lilacs junior was to be one of four drawcards of a fundraising function at the Goulburn Workers Club next Friday. Goulburn Mulwaree Council and Upper Lachlan Shire joined forces to organise the dinner, designed to assist hockey players White, Emily Smith and Glenn Turner, and rower Brooke Pratley with expenses involved in their Olympic campaign.
While the dream of one athlete is on ice, gold medals remain within reach of the latter three. Pratley, a world champion rower who hails from Crookwell, staked a claim for Olympic gold favouritism at the Sydney International Regatta Centre last week.
She combined with Victorian Kim Crow to clinch the NSW women’s double scull crown over 2000m in six minutes, 50.60 seconds – a time that places potential London opponents on notice.
Pratley has fond memories and a sound knowledge of the Olympic setup, too. In 2006 she won the women’s world double scull championship with Elizabeth Kell at Eton, the very regatta centre that will host the Games’ rowing events.
Kookaburras striker Turner is in the middle of an intense training regime devised by coach Ric Charlesworth at Australian Hockey headquarters in Perth. Although a regular in the national line-up of recent, the 27-year-old hasn’t experienced the euphoria of Olympic success.
He’s on track to do so this time around, provided his hip causes no further pain.
Turner underwent surgery in November. Barring another injury setback or a form slump, he will board the plane for London in July. Emily Smith is in Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens’ Olympic frame.
The 19-year-old striker, also from Crookwell, played beyond her years when given an international cap against New Zealand in Hobart last October.