Werry opens up on Olympic heartbreak

ROBBED: Ballarat's Katrina Werry was meant to be at the Tokyo Olympics last week. Instead she still in Australia. Picture: rowing Australia.
ROBBED: Ballarat's Katrina Werry was meant to be at the Tokyo Olympics last week. Instead she still in Australia. Picture: rowing Australia.

Like most people, Katrina Werry's 2020 hasn't gone to plan.

The Ballarat rower had hoped be in Tokyo right now, competing at her first summer Olympic Games. Instead, she's still in Sydney at the Hancock Prospecting Women's National Training Centre, getting back in shape following a three-month lockdown.

With her Olympic hopes dashed, the 26-year-old will need to undergo trials again before the Olympics resume in 2021. For now however, she's just happy to be back in the water.

"We have gone back into training mode but under the restrictions, we are training in smaller groups," she said.

"It's not back to normal but we are fortunate to be training together again."

Werry was one of 19 members vying for 15 spots in the Australian women's sweep squad, which was set to compete in the Women's Coxless fours, eights and pairs in Tokyo.

After undertaking Olympic trials in February, she said chances of selection were looking promising. By that time however, the virus COVID-19 was sweeping across the globe and whispers were swirling that it was no easy fix.

"We heard rumors, there was a lot of stuff being spoken about in the media but it was business as usual for us and we were told to be present and continue training as hard as we could," she said.

Eventually, the Games were cancelled. Werry and her teammates were sent home home for three months as Australia grappled to gain control over the deadly outbreak.

"It was upsetting," she said.

"We were were disappointed but you have to put the safety of everybody ahead of these kinds of things.

"There was a lot of mixed emotions among the group, we had a few girls who were having weddings the following year and it was upsetting for them because it meant they would have to postpone or cancel them."

While disappointed, Werry said the cancellation was a relief for many athletes, who had their training disrupted by the pandemic. She said she would rather compete at a time when everyone was 100 per cent.

"Some nations were being effected more than others and obviously some countries weren't training at all," she said.

"You want your competition fit and healthy when you go to the Games and if you win you'll be the best in the world."

Werry entered 2020 in blistering form following a list of accomplishments in 2019.

She was a member of the Australian women's coxless four squad which won gold at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

She also won a gold and a bronze medal for Australia at two World Rowing Cup events, rowing alongside Lucy Stephan, who attended Ballarat Grammar.

If the Olympics do go ahead in 2021, Werry said it likely won't be held in its traditional format.

"We could see athletes fly in for their events and leave and not stay for the full two weeks. It might not as extravagant as it has been in the past," she said.

This story Ballarat rower opens up on Olympic heartbreak first appeared on The Courier.