Sydney Olympic Games women’s water polo gold medallist Liz Weekes has returned to the sport and is in training to compete for her old club, Sydney University Lions, in the 2009 National League competition, beginning next February.
Weekes was the outstanding goalkeeper during the 2000 Sydney Games – the first time women’s water polo had been played as an Olympic sport – and retired soon after.
She was one of three Sydney University members of the Australian team that defeated the US for the gold medal with 1.3sec on the clock. The other two were Debbie Watson and Yvette Higgins, who has been coaching the Lions for the past five years.
“Liz has had a long break from the sport,” Higgins said. “She retired straight after the Olympics. But she recently turned up at training to get fit and she’s decided to play again. She’s a great goalkeeper.”
Higgins said Weekes will be competing for Sydney University in the NSW competition, which is a warm-up event for the National League.
Also returning to the Sydney University side are Beijing Games bronze medallist Taniele Gofers and Fiona Hammond, who was in the Olympic squad.
The Lions will also field a number of National Junior (Under 20) squad members in Alicia Brightwell, Keesja Gofers, Mellissa Hammond, Breanna Appel and Amanda Cox.
Weekes made her Australian debut in 1995 and had immediate success when the team won gold at the FINA World Cup in the same year. She was regarded as one of the outstanding goalkeepers of her age.
She was also one of the main advocates in helping women’s water polo win a 20-year battle to be accepted as an Olympic sport.