Twit­ter: @ben­hook1 Face­book: BenHook-Sun­dayMail Email: hook_shots@ya­hoo.com.au Holly is giv­ing it all

Sunday Mail - - SPORT -

DE­SPITE her sur­name, Holly Takos is a giver, not a taker. And right now, the 21-year-old is giv­ing more than she ever has.

The star South Aus­tralian sprint cy­clist has earned a berth with the Aus­tralian squad af­ter a string of qual­ity per­for­mances in sin­gle-bike dis­ci­plines, hav­ing de­voted the early part of her ca­reer to be­ing a pi­lot rider for Par­a­lympic cham­pion Felic­ity John­son. As a new­bie with the Aus­tralian High Per­for­mance Unit, she’s learn­ing the hard way what life as a full-time ath­lete is about.

“The first few weeks, I was leav­ing the velo­drome crosseyed,” Takos said of the enor­mous train­ing load. “I was in bed at 8 o’clock every night.

“But I’m start­ing to reap the ben­e­fits from that hard train­ing. As they say, you only get out what you put in. It’s all worth it and if that’s what I need to do, then I’m pre­pared to do it.”

Holly’s re­mark­able self­less­ness was man­i­fested in her de­ci­sion to put her own am­bi­tions on hold and join the para-cy­cling team. De­spite her choice be­ing clearly based on ser­vice to oth­ers, Takos is adamant she was the real ben­e­fi­ciary.

“I got so much out of the fact that I was able to help some­one else achieve their dreams, as well as con­tinue to work on mine,” she said.

“I learned a lot from Felic­ity when I was pi­lot­ing her. She was an elite ath­lete at the top of her game and I had just come out of ju­niors. So she took me un­der her wing and taught me a lot about what it takes.

“When you come out of ju­niors, you’re a 17-year-old against the best in the world. You’re at the bot­tom of the pit.

“Do­ing the para gives you ex­po­sure to the world stage oth­ers aren’t get­ting. To get a taste of it a bit ear­lier was huge.”

Takos is now fo­cused on the Ocea­nia Cham­pi­onships in New Zealand in Novem­ber as a spring­board to Com­mon­wealth Games se­lec­tion.

Wales, then coached by New Zealan­der War­ren Gat­land, learned a se­cret Walker may have also un­cov­ered: that the haka doesn’t fin­ish un­til the op­pos­ing team walks away.

So, the Welsh, much to the de­light of their home fans at Cardiff’s Mil­le­nium Sta­dium, chose to re­main stand­ing com­pletely still af­ter the haka had ended.

It left both teams in an ex­tended star­ing con­test, with nei­ther the All Blacks nor the Welsh pay­ing any at­ten­tion to the in­creas­ingly fev­er­ish in­struc­tions from ref­eree Jonathan Ka­plan to take their po­si­tions and be­gin the match.

Like­wise, the French U20 rugby team greeted the haka with an ex­tended stare-down dur­ing the ju­nior World Cup this year.

Walker’s own ver­sion of the stare-down has one dis­tinct dif­fer­ence: The Crows won while Wales and France U20 were both soundly beaten.

Last week in a four-day game against Kent, Cos­grove smashed 24 runs from the first five balls of an over from Matt Coles. Yep, he was dis­missed on the last ball of the over.

Pic­ture: SARAH REE

QUAL­ITY PER­FOR­MANCES: Holly Takos has been el­e­vated to Cy­cling Aus­tralia's High Per­for­mance Unit.

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