Tokyo Olympics: Let’s Go Tokyo podcast speaks to Australian water polo captain Aaron Younger ahead of Games

Kate RyanThe West Australian
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Olympic men's water polo team member Aaron Younger during a training session at Challenge Stadium.
Camera IconOlympic men's water polo team member Aaron Younger during a training session at Challenge Stadium. Credit: Bill Hatto The West Australian

Growing up around elite athletes at his local pool in Bicton Baths helped hone Aaron Younger's talent and determination — to the point where he’ll be captaining his team at his third Olympics.

Speaking to Ben O’Shea and Mark Readings on the Let’s Go Tokyo podcast, the 29-year-old said while he played and lived in Europe — where the competition was fierce, games were televised and players were lauded as sporting superstars — he loved playing for Australia.

Aaron Younger is one of the stars of Australia’s Olympic team.
Camera IconAaron Younger is one of the stars of Australia’s Olympic team. Credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

“All the games are televised (in Europe). And obviously, everyone's completely professional. So that's your full time job is training and developing and getting better. So it's a quite a different environment,” he said.

“But coming from there back to here, I feel a lot better playing in the national team with the Australian guys because you know, they've invested a lot more into it, and they've got a lot better feeling, they're a lot more aggressive. hungry. Although it's harder, being Australian is definitely a better feeling.”

Despite his love for representing the national team, the Aussie Sharks captain said more investment and support for Australian water polo is needed. But joked that this year, no spectators in the stands may come to Australia’s advantage.

“Well, as Australians, we're used to playing with the small crowds. Maybe it'll go in our favour,” he laughed.

But what hasn’t gone in their favour is the distance and isolation. Being shut to the rest of the world means neither the men or women’s sides have had international competition time in two years.

“Australia's been shut to the rest of the world. So we haven't been able to train or play against anyone. So it's going to be quite an interesting first game when we get out of there after two years of not playing internationally. So it's going to be tough for the men, but we'll be looking at top eight and then see what happens from there,” he said.

“I think women also, they're in a similar situation to us. They haven't played for two years, but they are really quite strong. So I think that'd be hoping for top four and then anything can happen.”

The Sharks take on Montenegro on July 25, while the women’s team, the Stingers face Canada on July 24.

Catch the Let’s Go Tokyo podcast every weekday for the duration of Tokyo 2020, wherever you get your podcasts.

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