Four Aussie athletes give their honest answers to some direct questions around confidence in our Suncorp Team Girls Talks Series.
5 March 2021
Sport Australia is responsible for driving greater participation, engagement and capability in Australian sport. Suncorp Team Girls is proud to be working with Sport Australia to promote the benefits of sport participation and help keep Australian girls in the game.
“Are you self-conscious about your body?” “When was the last time you felt anxious?” “How important are your team mates?” These are just some of the questions Suncorp Team Girls asked four prominent athletes for Team Girls Talks. We spoke to soccer superstar Jada Whyman, para athlete Sarah Walsh, Aussie Stinger Bronte Halligan and rugby sevens prop Demi Hayes.
Sarah Walsh is the reigning bronze medallist in the Paralympic women’s long jump, and she’s a force to be reckoned with. Sarah was born with fibular hemimelia, and was just 18-months-old when her parents had to make the difficult decision to amputate her foot. Sarah has never looked back. She says if it weren’t for that decision, she would not have represented Australia in Para-athletics or been given all the opportunities that come along with being a Paralympian on the world stage.
She discovered her atheltics talents at the age of nine, and shortly after received her first running blade. At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Sarah set an Oceanian record of 4.82m to finish sixth in the women’s long jump T44, and moved up into fourth place the following year at the 2017 World Para-athletics Championships.
In 2019, Sarah claimed bronze at the World Championships in Dubai, and now as her sights firmly set on Tokyo.
Born and bred in Wagga Wagga in New South Wales Riverina, Jada Whyman is a descendent of the Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta people. She’s the starting goalkeeper for Sydney FC and member of the Australian Matildas squad.
Jada was a soccer star from an early age, and made her all-age debut for the Macarthur Rams in 2013 at 13-years-old. Later that year she was selected for the Australian U16 team, playing three age groups above her own in the AFC Women’s Soccer Championships in China. In 2015 Jada was signed by W-League side the Western Sydney Wanderers.
The highly decorated athlete (named Player of the Year multiple times, Rebel Sport Role Modle of the Year and more) moved to Sydney FC in 2020/2021 W-Leage season and is widely regarded as the future of women’s football in Australia. Jada is now working towards Tokyo and of course, the FIF Women’s World Cup, taking place in Australia in 2023.
Sporting success is in Bronte Halligan’s genes; her father Daryl was a star rugby league player, and her sister Devon is a former Surf Life Saving world champion. It comes as no surprise that Bronte was just 17 years-old when she made her debut for the Aussie Stingers, the national water polo team. Prior to this selection, Bronte already had multiple strings to her bow, representing Australia a number of times in junior rep teams.
As well as representing her native country, Bronte has played for UCLA in America, and is currently completing a degree majoring in Psychology with a minor in Disability Studies.
She’s now a proud senior member of the Aussie Stingers squad, with 110 caps under her belt already, a bronze medal at the 2019 FINA World Championships and is eagerly anticipating Tokyo this year.
Demi Hayes has long been a talented rugby player, and was fortunate to progress through the formal Rugby Australia pathways, first rising to prominence in the Australian Youth Girls team, winning Gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2015.
She made her debut in the Sevens World Series the following year at the age of 17, and went to impressive performances in 2017 with the Central Coast Sevens and at the University Sevens Series.
Demi’s star continued to rise when she made her Rugby World Cup 7s and Commonwealth Games debuts in 2018. Downtime in 2019 due to injury was difficult, but Demi feels she has come through the break as a physically stronger athlete ready to take on the next big challenge.