23 April, 2024

Young Atherton athlete enters Olympic program

FROM netball to beach volleyball, 16-year-old Atherton athlete Asha Simmons-Lynch is making waves in the sporting world after being selected for the You For 2023 Olympics program and the Future Firebirds Academy.

Atherton teenager Asha Simmons-Lynch has been making it big in the netball and beach volleyball scene.
Atherton teenager Asha Simmons-Lynch has been making it big in the netball and beach volleyball scene.

Ball sports have always been Asha’s strong point, starting out in the basketball scene alongside her father and siblings. 

After a while, she grew bored of basketball and changed to netball, following in her mother’s footsteps as a professional player. 

Competing at many peninsula and state championships, Asha’s talent was quickly spotted by Future Firebirds Academy scouts, who offered her a spot in the program. 

“My reaction towards the invitation to the academy was shocked at first as I was hopeful but not really expecting such a great opportunity,” she said. 

“Then I was just really excited!”

She then travelled to Townsville to meet with the Firebirds team and her program coaches and get an idea of how the program works. 

After learning the ins and outs of the team, Asha and her peers were then able to watch their game against the Sunshine Coast Lightning. 

Since then, she has been going to Cairns twice a week to train with her academy coaches and said she had already seen a positive difference in her gameplay. 

“I really love how the high-performance individual coaching focuses you in the right direction, and I can already see improvements in my game,” she said.

“We do a lot of sprint and fitness work, defensive skills and tactics plus we have a strength and conditioning coach. 

“It has made me want to keep aspiring to reach my netball goal of playing for the Firebirds one day.

“Hopefully I will be able to play professionally as well as studying at university for physio or sports exercise science.”

On top of her achievements in the netball scene, Asha has also made an “accidental” debut in the beach volleyball world. 

While in Cairns with a friend one day, they noticed You for 2032 Talent ID Program had a session running to select local athletes for the program, ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games. 

They submitted their applications and went to try out. During the try outs, Asha did several running, jumping and throwing tests and had her stamina, strength and agility pushed to the limits. 

Soon enough, Asha found out that she had been selected for beach volleyball – a sport she had never competed in before. 

“We were just doing it for a muck around because my mum was out in Cairns that day and we wanted something to do in Cairns,” she said. 

“I really wasn’t expecting to come out getting picked for anything but then I was selected for beach volleyball.

“Netball is my number one sport, but learning a new game with different skills and tactics has been a lot of fun. 

“Even though we do a lot of travelling for my sports commitments in Cairns, trying something different keeps it refreshing and gives me a different perspective - I now am developing a new skill set and have made new friends and connections. 

“I’m going to an athlete development day at the Queensland Academy of Sport later this month, where we will be learning about nutrition, and resilience and hearing from a high-performance athlete panel.”

Asha will continue to attend training sessions and development days through the You for 2032 program in hopes to be selected for the Olympic Games when they come to Brisbane. 


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