Emma Tonegato desperate to overcome injury as Tokyo Olympics loom

Determined: Australian sevens star Emma Tonegato. Picture: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Determined: Australian sevens star Emma Tonegato. Picture: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Australian sevens star Emma Tonegato recognises it's time to start thinking about life after rugby.

An Olympic gold medalist, the Wollongong product is approaching the end of an occupational therapy degree and recently purchased a home in Tarrawanna.

But for now, planning for the future will have to wait.

Tonegato currently finds herself in a desperate race against the clock to be fit for the Tokyo Olympics.

The 26-year-old underwent a third operation on her right shoulder last month, having dislocated and fractured it in an internal game.

With a four-month recovery process, Tonegato concedes she is no guarantee of being picked in the final team, but she's determined to do everything she can to secure a seat on the plane.

"As soon as I did it, I instantly thought the worst," Tonegato said. "Speaking with the surgeon he gave me confidence that I'm within the timeline to be back for the Olympics, that's what we're aiming for.

"I'm hoping to get some games in before we go to the Olympics. I'm not promising anything, the coaches haven't promised me anything. I've just got to put my head down, wait for the shoulder to heal, then get super fit and make sure I'm in the best shape possible to give myself the best chance of playing."

This year has seen a relative return to normality for the Australians sevens program after a COVID-19 disrupted 2020.

The cancellation of the world series saw some players turn their hand to rugby league, the likes of Charlotte Caslick and Ellia Green lining up in the NRLW.

A former Jillaroo, Tonegato had the chance to play for the Roosters, ultimately turning the opportunity down. She hasn't, however, ruled out a return to the rival code.

"Last year with COVID, I had to prepare for life after rugby and prioritised uni. NRL is something I can go to later, I wanted to give everything to rugby and uni and focus on that for now.

"I'd still love to play NRLW. I started playing league before I moved to rugby, it was my first love. I crossed to rugby for the opportunity to go to the Olympics and play professionally. I love NRL and would love to see how I stack up in that league."

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This story Sevens star Tonegato desperate to overcome injury as Tokyo Olympics loom first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.

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