Olympic hopeful sprints toward change
Published: 28 September, 2017
Olympic hopeful Isabella Rositano is using her sporting prowess to raise awareness of the importance of good mental health, as part of the Black Dog Institute’s Exercise Your Mood month this September.
At 21-years of age, Henley Beach local Isabella Rositano is on track to represent Australia in Women’s Canoe Sprint, which has been added as an official event for the first time, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Since witnessing the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a child and holding the Olympic Baton as it passed through Adelaide, Isabella had dreamt of representing Australia in sport.
Isabella competed in the 150th Canada Day Cup 1 and 2 for Canoe Sprint in July, winning two silver medals. During this time, Isabella proudly wore the Black Dog Institute logo on her uniform to help raise awareness of mental illness and encourage people to speak out about their mental health.
“In recent times, I’ve seen more of my friends and teammates affected by mental illness. The shock of the sheer amount of people who’ve been suffering really prompted me to see what else I could do to help, so now I aim to raise awareness about the simple ways we can keep mentally healthy,” said Isabella.
“At the end of the day, it’s vital to remember the brain is simply an organ – and just like any other organ if you’re struggling mentally you should seek help. Some ideas surrounding depression are incredibly archaic for this modern day, and I think this is something that needs to change.
“There is always someone you can speak to if you’re struggling and there is always hope.”
Even before she sets foot in Tokyo, Isabella will arrive at her inaugural Olympic Games as a world record holder. She previously seized the “Longest Continual Row” title along with teammates from Bond University after competing for 48 hours straight on an indoor rowing machine.
As well as competing in Canoe Sprint, the talented sportswoman was also selected onto the Australian Duathlon team, while also juggling an online Sports Management degree, running a coaching business and competing in the AFL International Cup.
Despite suffering neck and back injuries following two car accidents while in primary school, Isabella has overcome many obstacles to pursue a sporting career on the world stage.
“It was a huge honour to be one of the first women to compete in this sport for Australia last year and I look forward to standing on a podium for our country soon,” she said.
“It has been great to see many Australian athletes, from numerous sporting codes, step forward to tell their story. I hope I am able to promote better mental health for athletes worldwide as it is often a forgotten aspect to their overall exercise and training regimes.”
As the Black Dog Institute’s month-long Exercise Your Mood campaign continues, Isabella hopes to help others see the benefits of sport for mental fitness.
“I cannot emphasise enough the importance of good nutrition and exercise on mental wellbeing, and there are masses of studies which link the three,” said Isabella.
“Keep up the fresh fruit and veggies every day, and remember to stay hydrated with water. Find a form of exercise you enjoy – even getting out in the sun at least once a day can be a great mood boost.”
The Black Dog Institute’s Exercise Your Mood month encourages Australians to ‘Take the First Step’ towards improving their physical and mental wellbeing through exercise.
For more tips and resources, head to our Exercise Your Mood page.
Emily Cook, Black Dog Institute, 0455 100 277 or send an email
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