Tenacious Taylor relishes second chance
WA's Jayde Taylor targets another Commonwealth Games gold medal in Glasgow. Pic: Ian Munro

Jayde Taylor doesn’t like giving up.

The WA hockey ace has had her morale tested a number of times in her quest to succeed as an international sportsperson.

Just a few months ago it seemed her dream of enjoying more achievements with the Hockeyroos was over.

But from Thursday Taylor is ready to target another Commonwealth Games gold medal when the national women’s team begins its Glasgow 2014 campaign.

However, it hasn’t been easy for the product of the South West.

She had to wait until she was 25 to get her first international nod. Then she spent 16 months on the sideline with a foot injury.

And just when the 29-year-old believed she had done enough to prove her fitness she was left out of the initial World Cup squad. Misfortune struck Teneal Attard on the eve of the tournament and
Taylor got a belated chance for a recall.

Taylor earned a silver medal in the Netherlands and can now target a first place prize, to go with the one she gained in India four years ago, in Scotland over the next 11 days.

“There was obvious disappointment to miss (World Cup) after putting all the hard work in to get back from injury and being involved in a few lead-up matches,” Taylor said.

“But I was so excited to be included in the end and I was lucky to put myself in that position.

“And now to be selected in the Commonwealth Games vindicates the work I put in to get there.”

Taylor’s degenerative foot complaint forced her to contemplate retirement. It took surgery to clean out arthritis and cartilage damage from overuse.

She was warned by medical experts in Melbourne her sporting career was over.

“There was the definite possibility I wouldn’t run again, I was told that very clearly,” Taylor said.

“I was pretty lucky, the year of rehabilitation has put me right and it is almost better than before so maybe it was a blessing in disguise.”

Although the Hockeyroos lost to the hosts in the World Cup final the team reached its goal of making the gold medal match and raised its international ranking to No.2, thus making them favourites for glory in Glasgow.

It wasn’t a defeat that devastated the squad. Indeed, it has given them confidence and a desire to add a fourth title from five Commonwealth Games appearances.

Taylor has played 101 internationals. Casey Eastham has been to two Olympics. Captain Madonna Blyth was part of the team that won at Melbourne 2006 and another West Australian, Ashleigh Nelson, has been a permanent member of the Hockeyroos for seven years.

So there is a strong core behind the team’s Glasgow push.

“We are a young squad, too, but we have a solid group of players with a lot of experience,” Taylor said. “That is a good prospect for Rio (Olympics) in 2016.

“And we think a great Commonwealth Games campaign will only enhance that position.”

The West Australian

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