- Category: Beach Volleyball
How did you become involved in your sport?
I first started playing beach volleyball when my Auntie Denise from England came over to Perth, Australia. She introduced me to beach volleyball and I fell in love with the game. Denise had played on the FIVB tour and herself had tried to get to the Olympics. I absolutely loved being on the beach all day and the challenge of playing outside and everything other sport seemed boring and less fun after that!
Who is your sporting hero?
I have so many but my biggest sporting hero would have to be Aryton Senna from Formula One. What he achieved in his sport in such a short time was truly amazing. He also did so much good with every opportunity he had, he inspired so many people, made his country proud and was so focused on his sport. I really admired his approach to spirituality,sport, winning and life in general.
Age you started in your sport?
I first started playing beach volleyball about 14, then I played indoor volleyball at a high level for quite a few years. At the age of about 20 I got sick of all of the training and took some time off to figure out what I wanted to do. I went travelling and partying for a few years but I still always played beach volleyball for fun. Then I decided to return to playing properly about 24 and give it a good shot.
Height, weight, age?
I am approximately 178 cm, 70 kilos and I just turned 33!
BA Journalism, sports blogger/writer. Level 1 Certified FIVB coach, Certified Pelleres Base Trainer (strength and conditioning)
What motivates you to continue in your sport?
That's a good question. I really don't know what it is motivating me a lot of the time! Part of it is that I can't handle being in an office all day I am sure. :) But I think the biggest motivating factor is to achieve my full potential in all areas of my life, and to accomplish the goals I have set out for myself. The more I learn and grow the more I can give and share to other people. And I definitely don't think I have achieved my full potential in sport yet.
What motivated you to start your sport?
I loved being outside and hanging out at the beach all day, but I didn't really start beach volleyball seriously until I was at an FIVB event in Rio in 2004. I saw people I knew getting paid to play in this tournament in the most amazing venue, and the crowd were so much fun. It was such an experience just being there. And I thought to myself, 'I could do that. Imagine how cool it would be waking up and just having to play beach volleyball'. That was it really. I came back to Aus and got serious about turning professional.
What is your current business/job?
Currently I work casually in hospitality - just bar and waitressing- whenever I can. I used to work in private agency PR and communications but it is really hard to keep a regular job and travel around the world playing sport. Something had to give - so it was the office! I also love writing and sports blogging so now I am looking to get paid more to do this!
Who do you play for?
Australia. I play with Adrienne Marie - a former Australian indoor international player currently based over in Aland.
People that have inspired you both in sport and life?
Again, I have a lot of people who have inspired me in sport and life. Sport wise I'd say probably Senna, Roger Federer, Casey Stoner, Cathy Freeman, Usain Bolt, Linford Christie, Eddie the eel, Steffi Graf, Gary Lineker, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard ! In life some of my closest friends and acquaintances have inspired me to be bigger than I thought possible. My mum has been especially amazing helping me keep going even though she has been against a lot of my campaigns! Steve Anderson (Nat Cook's current beach volleyball coach) had a big influence on me, Brian O'Reilly (Director of Human potential plus), Destino Canela (some friends of mine sailing on a boat for four years) , Jamie Edwards from Trained Brain ( my sports pyschologist) and a close friend Robin Tucker have all inspired me to stay on the path!
Great experiences that have happened in your life?
Definitely experiencing the Rio De Janeiro FIVB event was a great moment in my life. However attending the UK beach volleyball test event in London last year was pretty special as well. Even though I didn't get to play we ended up coaching the Ugandan team and they were absolutely inspirational.
Your interests and hobbies?
I love scuba diving, dancing, surfing and photography. I also really enjoy cooking, nice food and wine, so it's a good job I train a lot!
One tip or quote that continues to inspire you?
With faith anything is possible.
Family Background(where did you grow up) and Current Family
I was born in Liverpool in the UK. From the age of 9 I lived in Maghull in Liverpool, then we moved to Perth, Australia which is where I lived until about 20 when I moved over to Sydney. I have lived over East - currently on the Gold Coast- for a while now. My family (mum/dad/sisters/cousins etc) still all live in Perth. I have a rogue pet duck (Mr T) with my ex-boyfriend in Broadbeach but sadly I can't see him (the duck) anymore.
What is your happiest memory?
My own happiest memory sport wise/beach volleyball wise would have to be the time I spent in Rio in 2004. I wasn't playing professionally but I used to play socially. Every day I lived off fish, beans and rice, asai juice and black coffee. I'd watch the FIVB tournament during the day, then go play beach volleyball late into the night under the Christo (Christ Redeemer statue) followed by a couple of caiprinhas! It was all very surreal. The weather, the people and the setting in Rio is truly magnificent. Life doesn't get much better.
Who did you idolize growing up?
I think my first sporting hero was Robbie Fowler from Liverpool. At the time he was one of the only true Liverpudlians playing for Liverpool FC and I thought that was pretty cool.
Were you always one of the better athletes growing up?
I was definitely one of the most competitive athletes growing up and generally did well in sports. I have played a lot of different sports including basketball, netball, tennis - I even did kayaking for a while. I do remember one girl always used to beat me in primary school though and I used to hate it! I take losing a bit better now but not much.
What is one thing you would share with the children wanting to follow in your footsteps?
The biggest thing I would share with the children wanting to follow in my footsteps is that it doesn't matter if other people don't believe in you or what you want to do. As long as you believe in yourself and are honest about what it is you really want to do and be you can achieve anything.
How has being involved/playing your sport changed your life?
Wow, that's a big question. Playing sport has changed my life in so many ways - health, spiritually, you name it! Initially studied journalism just so I could work as a travel/sports writer when I was competing, which has now led me to the path of internet blogger! I have had a complete overhaul of my health and body to become fitter and stronger. I started meditation and studying alternative health methodology so I could maximise what I have been given. Playing sport has really encouraged me to achieve more with my life in so many areas.
Who has been your biggest supporter?
That would have to be a tie between my mum, my sister Eve and one of my sponsors in the UK, Robin Tucker from Three Feet High. I can't name one over the other or else I will get in trouble!
Who has been your best coach?
I have had so many coaches I have learnt from every single one of them, so I honestly couldn't say who has been my best coach. Steve Anderson was probably one of the most influential, Matt Grinlaubs has been one of the best technically, Glen Robbo and Shannon Zunker amazing skill wise,psychologically and drill wise, and Pauline Manser/ Glen Hamilton (Perth based) had a big influence on me when I initially started playing.
Sporting Background and list of results/achievements?
In the first 2011/2012 Australian national tour in four years I achieved a 7, 2 x9 th's and a 13th. Previously won QLD State championships and QLD state events and Queen of the beach events. I came 3rd in Weymouth in UK in 2011. My best result on FIVB is a 17th in Korea this year. Before Australian national tour had it's hiatus I was placing in the top ten.
Favourite Foods/Diet you follow?
I generally follow the O blood type foods and Traditional Chinese Medicine approach (Chi cycle) in regards to my eating habits and foods. I don't really believe in diets just a balanced approach. Mainly I live off eggs, avocados, lots of nuts/seeds, yoghurt, and basic meat and vegetables. I have cut down the carbs a lot. Lamb roast, milo and sticky date pudding are favourites.
Your typical training split and favourite training session?
I love doing a good yoga session in the morning, followed by sand skills sessions. At the moment I have just started a new split weight training program which is mainly focusing on building my leg strength and balancing out my shoulders. I have to say I prefer working out on sand, but the gym is an essential part of getting in shape which I am still learning to love...
Worst injury you have suffered?
Worst injury would be when I broke a finger playing in a grass tournament in Perth. I was so used to diving on the sand I didn't think twice about diving for a ball on hard grass which didn't really work very well.I had to get two metal inserts in it and then have a cast on throughout the rest of the summer. It was pretty funny though really, I kept playing despite the break and being unable to move my hand. The other team just served straight at me and I would kind of move in an attempt to pass the ball but it would just hit me and roll straight off my arms. We lost 8 in a row and that was the game!
What is the ultimate prize in your sport?
Definitely would have to be winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics or becoming an FIVB Champion.
What do you find to be the toughest aspect of your sport?
Getting up at 5am to train on cold, wet sand. Or perhaps playing in tough conditions like 40 degree heat or a windstorm.
What is your favourite movie?
What one lesson did you take from your parents?
You can do and achieve whatever you want to do with your life, but at the end of the day you are the one who has to live it. So you may as well create something good!
How do you deal with temptation?
Avoid places where you know you will be tempted! Out of sight out of mind.
What is your favourite music/band/song?
Made of (by Nause).
What is your biggest fear?
Not achieving my full potential before I die
Do you believe "never giving up" is the difference between making it and not making it in any sport?
Have you ever failed at anything? If yes how did you overcome this?
Yes, I have 'failed' at lots of things - just have a look at my campaign fundraising track record! I failed at a number of entrepreneurial projects, I failed to make the UK beach team and the AIS ( I actually tried out for UK squad just after they announced London), I have 'failed' at a long term relationship… I think the only way to overcome anything is by always asking yourself what the lesson is and then how you can improve on it next time. A perceived failure is a brilliant opportunity to learn and grow. Everytime I fail or lose a game, I overcome it by first focusing on the good stuff I have done, then focusing on what I can do better next time. That approach I apply to everything really. I don't think it is healthy to focus on the things you have failed at but it's definitely important to acknowledge them.
What inspired you to succeed?
Seeing people I know in my life achieve goals they have set out to do has inspired me on this path. I remember one male friend I know was always a super talented musician and now he is a fully fledged successful rock star! It's really cool when you see people doing what they love and also that they can do extremely well financially by following their dreams. Also seeing great athletes achieve new records inspires me to be the best I can be.
What did you want to be as a kid growing up?
I actually think I wanted to be a ballerina.I just loved those little pink shoes and it seemed so feminine and graceful. The irony.
Your future goals in your sports, and goals when you finish your sport?
FIVB Gold medallist
Win a gold medal at the Olympics (my goal was actually London)
Win Aus national championships
Interview and assist other amateur athletes to play professional sport
More sports journalism
CK, Claz, Clazza McGazza Dirty Dawg, Clazwing, Ace, Claire Bear
If you could have dinner with 5 people who would they be?
Senna, Richard Branson, Dalai Llama, Jensen Ackles and the Queen
What is one item you cannot live without?
People you would like to thank?
Robin Tucker (Three Feet High London/ Quixel TV), Chris Knight and Jodie De Rome (Pure Elements Therapy), Usman and Nasar (Abzorbed Entertainment), Jamie Edwards (Trained Brain),Mepi (Pelleres), Helen O'Neill (Vitality at Life), Keane and Kathleen Buckley (Be Yourself), Rafe Roberts at Global Fusion Perth, Snap Fitness Miami (Athanasi and Luke), Trevor Turnbull and Lewis Howes (Sportsnetworker), Ethean Soule, Peter Bowden, Renay at Yearnswell swimwear, Viking Line, Bond Uni, Leanne O' Neill, all of my coaches, my family and all of my amazing friends and Twitter followers!
Any further comments
You can stay updated on all of my campaigns and results on my website www.dreamcentralmedia.com.au or through Twitter @clairelkelly . Currently I am running a big campaign on sponsume to help me get overseas and keep going on the FIVB tour/ to build my athlete resource website.
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