Born in Parkes in Central West NSW, Mariah Williams grew up loving touch football and hockey.
Williams secured a regular fixture in the Australian hockey team in 2015, after going through four knee surgeries before the tender age of 21.
HSC, multiple setbacks and an Olympic debut – this is PART TWO of her story.
Read PART ONE ‘Hurdles’ HERE:
A SMALL WINDOW OF TIME
By Mariah Williams
After finishing school in 2013 I ended up moving to Sydney mid-way through 2014 to put further focus on my training and knee rehab.
In 2015, I was ready to move to Perth taking up a full time AIS scholarship with the Hockeyroos.
After a tough time failing the required fitness standards to play for the Hockeyroos due to time off during rehabs, we ended up adding extra one on one running sessions, focusing on cardio gym sessions and dieting.
It all paid off when I finally got over the hurdle of the fitness requirements and getting selected to play for the Hockeyroos again.
Everything was looking upwards, I didn’t miss a single game for Australia in 2015. Soon enough 2016 rolled around, the year of the Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games.
I started the year so well, being selected to tour to Singapore, New Zealand and a series in Sydney against China. When a few key players were ruled out of the Olympics from injury 4-5 months out from the Games, I began to think a lot about my knee surgeries.
On Friday April 22, 15 weeks out from Olympic announcement I twisted my knee at training – it was a familiar pain, one I had felt numerous times before.
Without freaking myself out, I calmly got up and walked over to the physio for assessment.
With a small break over the weekend, Monday came and my knee was feeling fine, so I went back into training. A week later we decided to get an MRI, just to check if it was all ok. MRI results came back showing a small tear in the meniscus.
Although I was feeling absolutely shattered, I stayed positive as I knew I still had a small window of time. After discussions with my sports doctor, physio and knee surgeon we decided to have surgery on the May 6, 12 weeks out from selection.
I came out of surgery feeling positive that it went well and knowing I’d be back training hockey in six weeks.
The first 7-10 days after surgery I was restricted by non-weight bearing on the knee. It was easy to have a few days off, but after a week it started to get a lot harder to sit still.
Basically, everything I was doing to stay fit was in a chair with weights and ropes sitting around me and I manoeuvred around that.
The Hockeyroos had a series in Darwin early may which I missed out on. That was a pretty hard time for me knowing that the squad was away in Darwin training, playing games and improving the finer details to get the team ready for Rio.
But having a few girls in Perth doing rehab with me I knew I could still work hard and put in as much effort as possible for what I was limited of.
To be continued…