Twitter: @benhook1 Facebook: BenHook-SundayMail Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Holly is giving it all
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.
QUALITY PERFORMANCES: Holly Takos has been elevated to Cycling Australia's High Performance Unit.