Sport

Rio 2016: Portia Woodman's Olympic dream

By Henry Young

Published 1935 GMT (0335 HKT) April 6, 2016
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Portia Woodman Sevens: No stopping herPortia Woodman Sevens: No stopping her
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Portia Woodman is one of the leading players on the women's rugby sevens circuit. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
The former netballer was named New Zealand's Women's Sevens Player of the Year after her first full season playing the game, having made her debut in 2013. Fiona Goodall/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
In November 2015, Woodman was named the world's top women's sevens player. She received her coveted prize the day after the men's All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup final at Twickenham. NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The winger is excited by the growing stature of rugby sevens. "If people recognize us after the Olympics that is awesome, no matter what," Woodman told CNN. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
Woodman, whose father and uncle played for the All Blacks, was prolific in the 2015 Sevens World Series tournament in Brazil, posting a record 13 tries. NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Here she scores the first of two against rival Australia in the final, held just outside Sao Paulo. Woodman was named player of the tournament.
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She is proud to follow in her father's footsteps, and channels the famed All Blacks mentality on the pitch. "We do the haka if we've won a tournament or if we feel particularly confident," she says.
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Here she celebrates a try with Kayla McAlister, her friend and former Northern Mystics netball teammate who joined her at the talent trials where they were discovered by NZ rugby coaches. Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Like Woodman, McAlister also has rugby roots. Her dad was a former rugby league pro and brother Luke is an ex-All Black. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
"I'm focused when I need to be focused," Woodman says. "I can't be focused all the time, otherwise I kind of spin myself out of control. I'm totally on it when I cross that white line or in the gym, but most of the time I'm up for a laugh and a good time."
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The New Zealand women won the 2014-15 World Series title at a canter, but trailed rivals Australia ahead of this season's third round in Atlanta. Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
The Black Ferns are yet to hit top gear, with star players Woodman and McAlister suffering injuries. Here Woodman is carried off in Sao Paulo in February. Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
However, coach Sean Horan has nonetheless remained upbeat, telling reporters that 2016 is all about who wins Olympic gold. Getty Images/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images