Life since winning at Stawell, recovering from Covid, and a new career

Date: 1st February 2021

We asked reigning Women’s Gift champion Lexi Loizou how she managed her training in 2020 and how this year is shaping up…

The win in the Frankston Gift 100m Open in January was my first win since Stawell. It was a special race for me being against Dhruv (Rodgriques Chico the current Men’s Gift winner) and also running against my Coach in the heat! 

It’s still early in the season so I hope many highlights are to come, but the first race of the season was a 400m event and I felt so grateful to be competing again after the year we have all had. It was also only my squad members in the race which was nice to share together.

 2020 was a tough year for me as it was for everyone, I had to pull out of my racing season early due to injury which was a heartbreaking decision. Training quickly became tough and very isolating, I’m thankful I had my Mum who supported me through my rehab and training alone during lockdown.

For me, having everything taken away, the ability to get to a track, the ability to run, made it clear to me that all I wanted to do was run. The passion was there so I had a lot of motivation to stay as consistent as I could and just face the hurdles that the pandemic threw at me as an athlete.

During the pandemic, and in between training, I was completing over 200 hours of University nursing placement. It was a scary time to be a healthcare worker and on the frontline. Along with many other healthcare professionals, I contracted Covid-19 whilst working and had to isolate away from my family and loved ones.

It was a pretty horrendous experience but has taught me so many invaluable lessons that I will take into my work as a newly qualified Nurse this year.

Developing my career as a Nurse has been a huge dream and life goal.  So to obtain my degree last year along with securing a job means this year I’ll be throwing myself into work and enjoying working in the career of my dreams!

I feel a huge sense of pride to be the reigning champion. It was a huge moment, for myself along with my family and friends who were so invested and supportive of my goals. I have such respect for all that Stawell offers to athletes and the history that is behind the race.  My plan is to compete again granted everything goes to plan. 

The atmosphere at Stawell is unmatched. I think everyone, the athletes and spectators, know that you have to be there to understand how incredible it is!

I hope the 2021 Powercor Stawell Gift goes off with a bang, Victoria had one of the harshest lockdowns and as a result I felt a lot of other states discounted Victorian athletes for the season as it was so hard for us to train. However, so many athletes have come out late last year/early this year and really proved that we are ready to be competitive.

Stawell is such an iconic event, so I hope this year will be just as epic as ever.

Alexia Loizou, current Stawell Gift champion, February 2021

photo: ABC


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