A Fire Within - One Woman's quest to be World Champion

Friday 6 May 2011, 1:11PM
By Charity Matters

Rotorua resident Polly Green is on a mission to be the world champion in Freestyle Kayaking.

She’s had the goal to be a world champion athlete since she was seven years old, inspired by her hero at the time, Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci.

Ms Green came close to realising her dream in 2003 at the Freestyle Kayak World Championships in Graz, Austria, where she came in 5th.

What’s fired Ms Green up this time? Ms Green stated that “A year ago my friend, Arnd Schaeftlein came to visit and to go surfing. We got to talking about the last world championships, and he offhandedly said “you know Polly, if you started training again I think you could be in the top ten at the next worlds” and I replied “If I start training again I don’t want to be top ten I want to win”.

She says a seed was planted that day. A week later she left to go on a ten- day meditation course. That course was the hardest thing she’d ever done. Ten days of sitting in silence for 11 hours a day. It relit her fire. She realized that her dream of being the world champion was still in her, and if she didn’t go for it she would regret it for the rest of her life. she made a commitment to herself then and there that she was going to go for it and start training for the 2011 World Championships, and make a film about her journey.

Ms Green says she knew that this time around she had to do things differently. The last time things felt self-centred and ego driven. This time it is not so much about proving she can win to the world, but is more about fulfilling a deep-seated childhood dream that she can’t explain.

She says “It just feels now like it is something I have to do. There are people that will help me along the way in my quest to find the answers including top-level sports psychologists, neuroscientists, and psychics. I am striving this time to maintain a holistic approach to my training, maintaining balance, awareness and appreciation for the fact that I am even able to go for my dream in the first place.

“What happens at the world championships is only a part of the dream. My goal is to appreciate the journey as much as the outcome, and to live my days knowing that I gave it my best shot.”

Ms Green will head to Germany in the next few weeks to start preparations for the World Championships, and as this is a solo quest needs some help to get her there.

She’s put her entire savings into getting to the stage she’s at now, but now needs help with her travel expenses. The cost of getting to and living during the championships will be approximately $6000.00 and would hope that the generous Kiwi spirit will help her in her quest. She says although this is a solo quest, her making it to the winner’s platform would be another highlight for all of New Zealand, something we can all be proud of.

You can follow Ms Green’s progress and contribute to her quest A Fire Within here.