Sydney Uni student and Elite Athlete Program member Chloe Dalton has been kicking goals since her switch to Rugby 7s only 18 months ago. The north shore talent came from a basketball background, having played professionally with the Sydney Uni Flames, but her agility and enviable ball skills transferred seamlessly to 7s which will for the first time by competed at the Games in Rio. Kristen Barnes spoke to Chloe Dalton recently, who explained her love of the new game, her journey back from injury and the team’s final Rio preparations.
KB: Being relatively new to the game, how did you first get involved in Rugby 7s?
CD: I was playing basketball for the Sydney Uni Flames, and just felt like I wanted to try something new. My first ever session was with the NSW 7s squad and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I absolutely loved it. I guess it kept on going from there.
KB: Tell us about the six game tournament you just played against Japan. How do you feel the team is performing and yourself personally?
CD: The recent tournament against Japan was used to prepare us for the Olympic format of competition (6 games over 3 days). As a team we performed well and executed our game plan effectively. It was nice to play locally in Narrabeen, meaning friends and family could come to watch.
KB: What did it feel like to be named a World Champion after winning the HSBC World Women’s Rugby 7s series in France earlier this year?
CD: I still don’t think it has sunk in. Being crowned champions of the series was a surreal experience and to achieve that with such a good group of girls is something I’ll hold onto forever.
KB: Tell us about your arm injury, how are you recovering from that? Is there still much rehabilitation to be done?
CD: In my short rugby career, I’ve managed to fracture my left ulna 3 times. In December last year I had a new plate and screws fixed to my ulna, and they will stay in there until I finish playing rugby. All the hours of rehab are out of the way, which has been really good as I got some solid playing time this season ahead of Rio and Olympic selections.
KB: What’s your training schedule like at the moment? Do you have many events left in the lead up to the Games?
CD: The training schedule has been intense. We train full-time at the Academy of Sport in Narrabeen, with different sessions every day. We’ve also just finished an intense training camp up in sweaty Darwin.
KB: You’re studying a Bachelor of Physiotherapy while simultaneously pursing your Olympic dreams. What made you choose Sydney University?
CD: Growing up playing basketball, a big dream of mine was to play for the Sydney Uni Flames. To have the opportunity to do that whilst enrolling in a renowned Physiotherapy program was awesome.
KB: How has the Elite Athlete Program (EAP) assisted you in your journey thus far as a student athlete?
CD: Whether it’s needing to reschedule an exam due to travel commitments, or just having a chat when things are getting a bit stressful, the EAP have been invaluable throughout my degree.
KB: What are your thoughts on the Australian Olympic uniform and Opening Ceremony outfits?
CD: I love it. Honestly, I think I would love it no matter what it looked like; to have the opportunity to even put those colours on is something I have dreamed of since I was seven years old.
KB: What other sports or events are you most hoping to catch if you make it to Rio?
CD: It would be amazing to check out the Opals, and hopefully see my old Flames teammate Katie-Rae Ebzery out there!
KB: Who would you most like to meet in the Olympic Village?
CD: I would love to chow down a few chicken nuggets with Usain Bolt.
KB: There’s quite a big cohort of Sydney Uni athletes heading over to the games, will you be supporting each other when you compete?
CD: For sure, it’s been awesome to meet a few Sydney Uni athletes at different events throughout the year. I’m really looking forward to catching up with them over there.
KB: When the Games are complete, what’s the one thing you’re looking forward to doing?
CD: Not doing exercise for at least a week/year.
KB: When does the Olympic Rugby 7s team get announced?
CD: Thursday July 14th!