Australian Representative Holly Nicolas

Representing Australia in Table Tennis
Table Tennis player Holly Nicolas

How did you get involved in table tennis?

My Mum bought a table tennis for Christmas so that the whole family could have some fun together. I really enjoyed it, so I started going to lessons.

At what age were you when you started playing table tennis?

I was 10 years old.

Do you tell your coaches/teammates about your CF?

To start with I only told one or two coaches, but now most people know about my health issues.

How many hours a week do you have to train ?

Training is 6 days a week. I train for at least 2 hours a day during the week. On Saturdays and Sundays I train for 4 hours . I have a rest day on Tuesdays.

Representing Australia in Table Tennis

What sort of training do you do? Eg fitness/ strength?

Three mornings a week, before school, I do strength and conditioning training with a coach at the gym. After school I do table tennis training, working on technique, serves, footwork, speed and game play.

How do you manage treatment, training and school ?

I’m lucky that I have a great CF homecare worker called Sharon who comes round and helps me with my physio. The homecare team are happy to fit around my school and training schedule.

What is your health status, eg breathing capacity/ how many times do you go into hospital per year, do you do home treatment?

Like all CFs I sometimes get a slump in my health.  I usually go into hospital  about once a year, maybe twice at the most. My sport really helps me keep healthy.

Do you have any particular foods you eat to give you lots of energy?

When I’m training I always try to take bananas with me as they are a good source of energy. I also drink Up & Go after gym and basically eat ‘all the time’.

Do you need to be mindful of any drug codes when competing in big tournaments like the Australian championships?

Yes, I’ve been drug tested before at big tournaments by ASADA. I liase with my meidcal teams and have to check my drugs on the ASADA website. If I’m still not sure we ask the pharmacist at PMH to provide further information for us. So far, so good.

Holly Nicolas in action on the Table Tennis court

When you finish school what would you like to do ?

I’ve managed to qualify for the Commonwealth Games Qualification Tournament for Gold Coast 2018. I am training hard for that tournament so I can make the Australian team. With this in mind I’ve decided to get a part time job in retail.

Further down the track I’m still not sure exactly what I want to do. I would love to set up an online business so I can travel and work at the same time. HAve that perfect work life balance.

What is some advice you could give to other young people living with cystic fibrosis?

I would say to try lots of sports until you find something that you really enjoy. In the past I’ve also done Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Dance, Stand-up Paddle Boarding and Badminton. I have enjoyed them all but Table Tennis was where I excelled.

I think regular sport has kept my lungs as healthy as they can be. Along with a good physio regime.  I haven’t always been great at my physio in the past but I am improving as I get older and can really see how it has helped with my health.

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