Back with a purpose - Alyssa Conley

In her youth & junior days, Alyssa Conley was known as the future of South African sprinting; a future that was short-lived as injury struck and side-lined Conley for a few years. Well, after many rejection, pain, disappointment and heartache, Alyssa Conley cruised to an 22.98sec 200m at the UJ and Nkwalu Sports Invatational meeting. Although wind assisted, this was a good indicator to where the season was headed.

Alyssa Conley is undoubtedly one of the most talented female athletes in Africa who ufortunately had to bear the brunt of injury-struggles most of her career. Prior to 2013 she had to undergo a hip operation and also suffered many injuries including a hamstring tear; a tear that almost stopped her athletics career. But Conley got back up, got rid of the dust on her shoulders and kept on working towards her goals. “God’s time is not my time” says the star that made another comeback during the 2013 domestic season- winning ASA National Championships’ 100m (11.34seconds) and placing 2nd in the 200m (23.4) – and got injured again during the European season that same year.

“I was very doubtful in 2014 and 2015; in 2014 especially I had to decide whether I was going to continue, whether I was going through all the hard training and hard work to just be injured again…I was very doubtful, but It’s always been my dream to be an athlete” adds the athlete who is now coached by former 100m & 200m national record holder Morne Nagel. Conley started training with Morne Nagel in early 2015 and they made a combined decision to not compete during the 2015 season to focus on getting her physical, mental and nutritional form in place. Well, their plans and strategies has payed off.

“I never expected to qualify this early in the year; I know it’s just the beginning. I will have to run faster and work harder. Running the 22.98sec 200m was a surreal moment, because when I crossed the line I didn’t even notice the time until people told me. But this is the beginning, I have to work harder, run faster and I want to do it again and again and proof to people that I am not a one-hit wonder; I want to be a consistent athlete” mentioned the Sunday-school teacher (at a small community church in Riverlea) who has grown both spiritually (in her relationship with God) and physically whilst she struggled with doubt, disappointment and constant injuries. Conley who is looking to qualify for the 200m qualified for the 100m this past week at the ASA Night Series running a 11.29 in the 100m and placing second behind Carina Horn.

“Don’t ever give up and if you want to give up, remember how far you’ve come, remember all the blood, sweat and tears and sacrifice! You never know when your breakthrough is coming, you never know how close you are and remember it’s more difficult to turn away from your dreams than to keep pushing” encouraged the motivated future Olympian. “It’s okay to fall, but it’s important that you get up with pride, persistence and perseverance.

And if you have a dream, don’t just talk it, believe it and work hard at it” was her final words of the interview. Conley’s story is one of hope, hardship, doubt, pain and unending persistence. Some would have thought that her running days are over, but tables have turned and this is a new start for her. We salute you for all your hard work, never-give up spirit and persistence…you are an inspiration.


Written by Reggie Hufkie