Across the globe, Emma Tonegato, despite her young age of 21, has become one of the most familiar faces on Women Rugby Sevens.
She is either diving across the try line for one of her many in any game or standing proudly in Rio on the dais along with her teammates and best friends while receiving a well-earned Olympic gold medal.
However, her first sport of choice was never rugby as she had tried a few other sports before finally settling for rugby.
She grew up around Wollongong and was one of the Surf Club kid. However, her love for sports did not let her limit her participation to water sports only.
“I played touch, but also netball, hockey, soccer and did surf club – I tried everything,” she said.
Even with three brothers, she was the first to play a contact sport as she took up a League at 16. Her new pathway was one which she however had to work hard in order to convince her parents that it was the right choice for her.
She recalled that her parents never agreed to her choice of Rugby, but after letting them know how serious she was, they talked to her about the need to play kitted with the necessary equipment like the head gear, mouth guard and a shoulder pad.
Tonegato went on to represent Australia at the highest levels in the league, where she joined up with the Jillaroos team that came off victorious in the Women’s World Cup in 2013 which was Australia’s first ever.
She however took up sevens while continuing to play league. Soon, she was invited to a national sevens camp, one which she found really hard to resist. The pressure is now on her to maintain a good performance level.