Tayla selected for Youth Olympics
COOMA rugby sensation Tayla Stanford is set to become an Olympian following her selection in the Australian 2014 Youth Olympics team.
Tayla received one of the most important phone calls of life last week, when she was informed of her inclusion in the Australian Youth Olympics Women's Rugby Sevens squad, to compete in Nanjing, China.
Tayla will join her Australian teammates this weekend at the Narrabeen Sporting Complex in Sydney, before flying to China on August, 13.
The 18-year-old plays 15 a side rugby for the Jindabyne Miss Piggies and 15s and sevens for the ACT. She is excited at the prospect of wearing national colours on an international stage.
"I'm looking forward to wearing the green and gold and standing to sing the national anthem," Tayla said.
"The Youth Olympics is massive, it will be my first trip overseas as well."
Women's rugby sevens is one of the fastest developing sports in the world and will appear in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
"I enjoy both 15s and sevens rugby but I'm focused on sevens."
"Sevens is a quicker game, its very intense and requires high fitness levels.
"Rio [Brazil Olympics] is my number one goal."
The inside centre will be looking towards her trademark side-step to cause the opposition plenty of headaches come August 16 when the Youth Olympics commence.
Tayla won't be alone when she takes to the field in Nanjing, with an entourage of family and friends making the trip to China to support her.
"Mum has been the most supportive person in my life," Tayla said.
"When I was younger she would take me to Canberra for training three times a week."
Since the age of eight, Tayla has been busy busting tackles and scoring scintillating tries. She began playing rugby league for the Cooma Colts before moving to the 15 a side game.
Earlier this year whilst at the Australian Women's Rugby 7s development camp, she tore ligaments and fractured her elbow. Tayla received some good news on Friday, where the doctor gave her the all clear to resume rugby.
"I enjoy the atmosphere of being within the team, so it has been frustrating watching on the sidelines."
Not a stranger to taking centre stage, Tayla was the winner of the NRL Footy Show's League of their Own competition when she was nine. She pocketed $50,000 for her efforts.
Tayla is well supported in Cooma, from her family and friends and from where she works as well.
"I would like to thank Anytime Fitness for all the support they have given me over the years and thanks to Kevin my personal trainer."
Come kick off, Tayla will take her place alongside some of the best athletes from across the globe.