Olympics never in doubt despite injury: Matildas’ Hunt

Steve Larkin |

Matildas defender Clare Hunt (top) never doubted she would be ready for the Paris Olympics.
Matildas defender Clare Hunt (top) never doubted she would be ready for the Paris Olympics.

The Matildas’ meteoric riser Clare Hunt always knew an untimely foot injury would not derail her Olympic Games ambitions.

Hunt was diagnosed with a stress reaction in a foot by her club Paris Saint Germain in late March, which caused some apprehension ahead of Australia’s final friendlies before the Olympics.

But Hunt was always confident of being fit for the Matildas’ two-game series against China, in Adelaide on Friday night and Sydney on Monday night.

“I got diagnosed with a stress reaction, so it’s just prior to a stress fracture,” Hunt told reporters on Tuesday.

“And the rehab for that is four to six weeks, so I always had in my head that it would be a four- to six-week injury and I just focused on doing everything I possibly could in that period.

“And for me it was bang-on that time frame, so I knew that hopefully if everything went to plan, I would be able to come in to this camp and continue to prepare.

“And I had great preparation prior to leaving PSG, fully training, so the foot is feeling good.”

Hunt, a Matildas mainstay since making her senior international debut in February last year, described her journey from a small rural Australian town, to the Australian team and a home World Cup, then to the Paris powerhouse PSG, as “crazy”.

Born in Grenfell in central western NSW, Hunt played for Canberra United before joining Western Sydney – she left the Wanderers for PSG in September last year.

“When you’re a country kid and then you go straight to Paris, it’s a little bit of a culture shock, I must admit,” Hunt said.

“I don’t even know what to think of it sometimes. I’m just living the dream and just here for the ride.

“I don’t really think too much about it because it’s always ‘what next can I do, how can I enjoy myself as much as I possibly can’.

“So it’s just immersing myself in whatever environment I’m in and enjoying it as much as I can.

Clare Hunt.
Clare Hunt has a policy of immersing herself in whatever environment she is in and enjoying it. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

“It has been a crazy 12 to 18 months, but it’s also been pretty amazing to have the experiences that I’ve had.”

Hunt said despite her “horrendous” French speaking, her move to Olympic host city Paris was paying rich dividends.

“I get to play with some of the best players in the world and train with some of the best players in the world, so it has definitely increased the tempo at which I play,” she said.

“It has challenged me to be faster in everything that I do, so it has been really, really tough but also really, really enjoyable.

“A massive learning experience for me (but) I would say I’ve improved a lot since being there.

“The speed of the game, and technical (aspects) – not allowing yourself to make too many errors, because you can’t afford to when you’re playing against players who will capitalise on those errors.

“It’s just sharpening up technically and also just the speed at which I move and which I play has increased a lot too.”