Tok’s Turner unearths gold at Rio Olympics
Amy Turner had to give up working in the mines to hunt for gold instead.
And now she’s done it, grabbing a gold medal when Australia beat New Zealand 24-17 in the Olympic women’s sevens final on Tuesday morning (NZ Time).
The former Tokoroa league, touch, and rugby star moved to Australia 12 years ago.
Almost two years ago, Turner took a massive pay-cut and moved south from the hot, dusty mining town of Mt Isa to the big smoke of Sydney to ensure she would get to Rio.
That helped seal her place in a team that is favoured to win Olympic gold - ahead of New Zealand.
Turner left her home town aged 20 for Brisbane - ‘‘I had some family - an uncle and aunty, some cousins, and my little sister’’ - before moving back briefly three years later.
She didn’t last long back home and this time headed to Mt Isa in Queensland, having her arm twisted by a friend who worked in the mines
Turner’s sporting prowess was already well recognised she’d played league for the Queensland State of Origin women’s team - and was on the verge of making the national sevens team.
‘‘I got selected to go to a world series tournament in London, so I had to ring my new boss and ask him for a month off before I’d even started.’’
Turner juggled her job as a haul truck driver on the night shift with training - but as the lure of the Olympics crew closer, so did the pressure to become a full-time sportswoman.
‘‘I’d go to work, in every break we’d get I’d go to sleep and everyone was saying ‘why do you sleep all the time?’,’’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘‘When I think about it now, I think ‘how the hell did I do it?’ It was tough.’’
She moved to Sydney in October 14, driven solely by her Olympic ambitions.
‘‘I get paid a quarter of the amount that I was earning in the mines, I’ve had to control my spending!’’ she laughed.
‘‘But at the end of the day, the Olympics is a one-off opportunity and I had to take it with both hands.
I don’t think I would have made the Olympic team had I not moved to Sydney at that time. ‘‘I’d do it all over again. ‘‘Money’s not everything.’’
Amy Turner won a gold medal when the Australian Sevens beat NZ on Tuesday.