"We want a medal and our aim is gold," says Redcliffe teacher

"We want a medal and our aim is gold," says Redcliffe teacher

The Olympic countdown has started for Redcliffe State High School teacher Chelsea Forkin.

The 31-year-old is today (Monday) flying to Japan with the Australian women’s softball team and go into a pre-games ‘bubble’.

Next time we are likely see her in action will be in July, wearing number 25 in the green and gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

It is the world’s biggest sporting stage and may be the last time Forkin represents our national team as she will “probably” retire after her first and last Games.

Gold-en chance

The HPE teacher plays outfield and first base for an Australian squad looking to maintain its remarkable Olympic record.

Australia has medaled every time it has qualified for the Games, winning bronze-bronze-silver-bronze from 1996-2008. But never gold.

“We are going with hopes and expectations,” said Forkin, who plays for Brisbane Bears and Queensland Heat, “we really want a medal - and our aim is gold.

“We’ve been working really hard in the background to try and win it all. We don’t want to accept anything less. If we get silver or bronze we’ll be happy. But we want gold.”

Won every game

Australia’s Open Women are currently ranked fourth in the world, but stormed through the qualifiers in China, two years ago.

“We had to win every single game and we did,” said Forkin, who played in the US for Dallas Charge and Chicago Bandits in 2016-17, “it was the best softball we ever played.”

COVID forced the Tokyo Olympics to be pushed back a year – a move which the HPE teacher says has been a ‘blessing in disguise”.

“We’ve had the opportunity to get together more as a team, keep building our culture, keep practising, keep scouting our opposition,” she said.

Team bubble

“We’ll be in our own bubble where we’ll be located (in Japan) and once we’ve done our preparation we’ll move into the Olympic Village in Tokyo.”

Forkin said the Australian Olympic Committee and Softball Australia had done “everything they possibly can to ensure our safety and to allow us to feel comfortable going over”.

Olympic softball will be a far cry from Forkin’s junior days, playing baseball in Perth. She was in the Australian Open Women’s team at 15 – before switching to softball at 16.

Two years later she was in the Australian Under 19 team which won bronze at the 2007 Junior World Championships and had a “foot in the door” of the senior side.

One inning at a time

Forkin did not “make the cut” for the 2008 Olympics, but has been in the Open Women’s team ever since, playing in five world championships and winning four national awards.

“I’m actually looking forward to it (entering the bubble),” she said, “I think it will be really good for us. As a squad we are used to going away at this time to play internationally

“I’m sure there will be some nerves, but they only last a while and I’ve got ways of combatting that.

“I understand that this is the biggest event for our sport, but at the end of the day we are just playing a game … just taking take it one inning, one game, at a time.”

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