Although disappointed that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed, Rio 2016 Olympian Hannah Buckling has returned her focus to her studies, where she is in the process of completing her post-graduate Medicine degree at Sydney University.
“In 2019 I made the decision to suspend my studies until after the 2020 Olympic Games, as most of my learning is currently taught in a hospital, making it hard to continue to study while travelling,” Buckling said.
“Putting my studies on pause was difficult, but allowed me to give my full attention to Water Polo and prepare with the team for Tokyo.
“But when COVID-19 began, and the closure of pools, inability to train and the suspension of the Olympics, I found myself with an opportunity to return to study," she continued.
“I am now back studying full-time until the end of the year and I could not be enjoying myself more!
“I am extremely lucky and grateful that Sydney University allowed me to return to the program, and while I have a lot to catch up on, I am really enjoying challenging myself with study again.
“The Sydney University Elite Athlete Program has always been there to help me with balancing my studies and sport, and I am so lucky that they encourage students to pursue goals outside of study."
While Buckling spends her ‘down time’ studying, she said that it is in fact sport that has taught her discipline and the other necessary skills to be able to balance her commitments.
“I believe that sport gives you an incredible set of skills that apply to both studies and career, but also to the ups and downs of life,” Buckling said.
“Sport is challenging, both physically and mentally. It stretches you to achieve things you never imagine that you can, and to do so with a team requires another level of dedication.
“Everything I have learnt from sport, from time management to dedication, resilience, teamwork and goal setting, has helped me with my studies and will continue to help me into my future career as a doctor,” she said.
The 27-year-old had some words of advice for young Water Polo players.
“Sport and study are not mutually exclusive. I have been at university for a long time, and during that I have had people tell me that many things I am trying to do are not possible,” Buckling said.
“At the end of the day, only you know what you are capable of, and I can guarantee you that you will often surprise yourself, I certainly did!
“So push the boundaries on what you think is possible, try and sometimes fail, and make the most of all opportunities that sport and study will present to you.”
Buckling will keep busy with her studies while she continues to look forward to rejoining her Aussie Stingers teammates as restrictions start to ease and high-performance squads look to return to the pool.
Water Polo Australia