WHEN Caitlin Parker steps into the ring on the Gold Coast later this year, she will have one thing on her mind: gold.
The Gosnells boxer was the first WA athlete to be named in the Australian Commonwealth Games team for April after winning gold at the selection trials.
Fuelled by narrowly missing out on selection for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 21-year-old said she had targeted gold in the 69-75kg division.
“I think I can definitely win the gold, that’s my major goal at the moment,” she said.
“I can definitely do it. If all goes well, I’ll come back to Gosnells with a gold medal around my neck.”
Beyond the Commonwealth Games, Parker said she had the Tokyo 2020 Olympics firmly in her sights.
“My long term goal is a medal at Tokyo in 2020. I narrowly missed out on going to Rio with a couple of contentious decisions in the overseas qualifiers, so Tokyo is the one I’m going to go to and I want to medal there,” she said.
After starting combat sports as a child, Parker took up boxing at 13 and said she found it came naturally to her.
“When I got in there, the spotlight was on me. The nerves got me in my first fight, but when you win, it makes it all worth it,” she said.
“That kind of feeling was very addictive to me and I haven’t stopped, I’m very competitive and I want to keep getting better and better and winning more fights.”
Parker said she loved competing in a typically male-dominated sport and smashing stereotypes associated with it.
“Occasionally I get the compliment ‘you fight like a man’ which is a big compliment to me, but it shouldn’t be like that. Fighting like a girl shouldn’t be a bad thing.”
A former silver medallist at the AIBA Youth World Championships and bronze medallist at the junior world championships and Youth Olympics, Parker has already received some inspiration from fellow boxer Danny Green and cricket legend Adam Gilchrist.
“(Danny) is a good person to talk to about all the things I’m going through with boxing, because he’s obviously gone through the same stuff,” she said.“Adam was really good, I caught up with him a bit, and he’d talk to me before fights if I was nervous.
“He helped me out so much because we all kind of go through the same thing in sports with the mental side and how to deal with the negative things.”