Sian McAleer to represent NZ at Touch Youth Champs

 

Sian McAleer is not your ordinary teenager. Her drive and tenacious mentality speak volumes about the type of person she is. And with her academic success and prodigious athletic ability, she not only inspires, but also teaches us a lesson or two about the true meaning of the word busy.

It was at the age of seven that Sian got her first taste of touch after she had been scouted while competing at athletics competitions by coaches from around the Auckland and Counties Manukau region. Coaches had had their eye on her for a while and it wasn’t until her mum took her along to play for Counties that she fell in love with the sport.

After making various rugby and touch representative teams, Sian knew she had to make a decision about what sport she would focus on after also playing basketball. She decided to take touch even further because of the comradery and the many opportunities that came with it.

“I love touch so much because it’s a sport that makes me feel so free and happy. I love the sisterhood that my team has formed as we have been playing with each other since we were young...and how you become a family with your province.”

This decision has seen her selected for the Counties Manukau U16 Girls touch team and represent Manukau in the Junior Touch National Championships. Sian spoke about what the experience was like. She said: “To be selected into a Counties team and represent at a national level is such a good feeling because I always feel like I’m representing my mum and the place where I was raised. Going out and representing Counties is an amazing feeling as I am playing the sport I love most.”

Sian was also recently named in the U16 New Zealand Touch team which will be competing in the National Youth Championships in Australia, this September. She talked about the upcoming event and what she will be doing to prepare.

“I am more than excited and so blessed to be named in a New Zealand team. I will be going into three camps this year, which are a week long, where we will be training each day, (doing) team bonding, and working on a high fitness programme. Also, outside of these camps, I am on a training programme where I do extras everyday.”

And on top of this, Sian is currently in Year 12 and working towards attaining NCEA Level 2 after receiving Academic Honours in NCEA Level 1.

For Sian, her Mum is her number one supporter. She says, “What motivates me to work hard is my Mum and the people close around me. They do so much for me...so I do all I can to make up for it. Succeeding and following my dreams is what makes my mum happy, so when things get tough and I have lots of work to do, thinking of her...keeps me striving to get it done. Mum always tells me to go out there…(and) go hard.”

When Sian isn’t playing sport or getting ready for upcoming tournaments, she enjoys spending time with family, going for walks or having quiet times alone, to relax and get away from all the hustle and bustle of her hectic lifestyle.

Sian has many short-term goals and aspirations for her future. “Making a New Zealand team was never a goal of mine as I never thought I would make one, but some goals I have are to make the Open Women’s Counties team at the end of the year and improve my touch game on and off the field. A dream of mine has always been to make the Olympics whether it was in rugby or athletics, so being recognised and getting these results at such a young age is a step closer to me getting into those teams in years to come.”

From athletics, to basketball and now to touch, Sian McAleer has certainly hit achieved a lot at a young age. But from hearing about her list of dreams and hopes for the future, you get the idea that she is always wanting to get better and that this is only just the beginning of a great journey ahead.

Shontelle Matano