5 minutes with Robert de Castella

Mon 16 Apr

Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Robert de Castella was recently at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra for the unveiling of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games medals. We caught up with ‘Deek’ and asked him about his sporting life.

Can you explain the significance of having the Commonwealth Games in Australia?

I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to have the medals minted in Australia, for us to be able to access our own designers and to have such a strong Indigenous element coming through. I’m really proud of the work being done in the Indigenous space. It’s a wonderful thing to see the way the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have embraced the Indigenous knowledge and incorporated it all the way through the ceremony and the medals here. I think it’s really important for us to acknowledge that as part of our identity in Australia.

What do you think was going through the mind of some of our athletes at the Commonwealth Games?

As an athlete, you’re so focussed on the day-to-day training leading up to major championships. It’s always hard to get it right, and the great challenge for all of our athletes is the timing and being both mentally and physically in the best shape of their lives when it counts. 

Looking at your ’82 medal and the current ones, how do they compare? Have they become a little more complicated?

I think so, I’ll have hold them up against each other to compare! I think, like everything, things move on. We had the Commonwealth Games back in 1982 with the blinking kangaroo, and you look at the technology today and things have moved on enormously, and that’s good. It’s a wonderful way to reflect and acknowledge the changes that we as a nation have made. When it comes down to it, you get out there, you toe the starting line, and you do your absolute best for yourself, your family and your country. That doesn’t change.

Where do you keep your medal? Is it hidden away in a sock drawer somewhere?

It’s just in my study in the little box they were delivered in. It’s occasions like this and visiting schools to talk to kids where it’s great to have something tangible that they can hold in their hands. I think it represents the aspirations that we want to instil in the next generation. We want them to be the very best they can be and to embrace the ideals of sportsmanship and to be successful in whatever area in life they choose.

- Daniel Francis