New Zealand’s Michaela Blyde is The World Games Athlete of the Month for June 2019. Michaela’s achievements span more than just her impressive history on the 7s team for New Zealand, including winning 10 out of the last 12 tournaments and being named the 7s Series Player of the Year for the last two years.
Michaela sat down with Protective Life and answered a few questions about rugby, her rugby achievements and what she’s looking forward to in the future.
Q: How long have you been playing rugby? What about the sport compelled you to try it out?
I started playing rugby in 2012 (age 16) at New Plymouth Girls High School. My mum was working at the Taranaki Rugby Union when the NZ Women’s 7s trials were starting and told me to try out. I was playing soccer at the time but was excited to give a new sport a go.
Q: What do you think makes rugby different from other sports?
Rugby is different because of the family culture and environment. Rugby is one of NZ’s national sports so the game brings everyone together to create an amazing community who all love the game and their teams.
Q: If you weren’t a rugby player, what other World Games sport would you want to compete in?
I used to do athletics back in the day also so I would probably be competing in athletics, or soccer, depending on which one I performed better at!
Q: Can you describe rugby in five words?
Fun. Challenging. Attitude. Family. Love.
Q: To anyone who is not familiar with rugby, how do you explain the sport to them? How is it different from sports they may be more familiar with like soccer or football? How is it similar?
Rugby is a sport that requires the right attitude to get physical and tough to perform for your team mate beside you. With lots of contact in rugby, it’s different to other sports because there’s a great sense of wanting to work hard for your team mates around you.
Q: You’re highly decorated with awards such as being named Sevens Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Although those individual accolades are very special, I’m most proud of being a part of the team that won Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 7s World Cup. Two pinnacle events in one year and winning gold at both is something I’ll forever cherish. Especially because I had my parents in the crowd for the Commonwealth Games and my partner in the crowd for the World Cup .
Q: What is ahead for you in 2019 and 2020? What will you be focusing on?
In 2020 we have the biggest event of our lives, the Olympic Games in Tokyo. So my focus is to make that team. Although it’s 12 months away it’s important for me that I still train hard now and do the little things right so that I am in the best condition to trial for the Olympics.
Congratulations Michaela on being named the Athlete of the Month, and we’re looking forward to cheering you on in the future!
For more on Michaela, click here.