From the moment she started playing rugby, Pamphinette Buisa had no doubts about her athletic future.
“I told myself that I’m going to be an Olympian,” said Buisa, who wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of that goal.
While readying to board a plane and start the long journey to Tokyo on July 21, she knew her objective was soon to come to fruition.
“We’re literally hours away from actually landing there, I’m just super excited that my dream is now a reality.”
Buisa, 24, mostly looked forward to feeling like an Olympian and being able to take in every aspect of the Games alongside her women’s rugby sevens teammates. “It’s very much just being there, being in the village, being with my teammates, representing our people.”
She hopes that young girls will able to see themselves in the women’s sevens team and know there’s a place for them – from player to management roles – in high-level sports.
“We want to continue to break barriers and show that rugby is a sport that can encompass so many different attributes and skill sets,” she said.
“Sometimes you may not see (yourself represented), but if you’re committed, you can be the one representing those who aren’t there.”
Buisa sees the team’s determination, grit and ability to compete in the moment as what will help them reach the podium, but their unity is what will define their push for to gold. They know one another and what makes each of their teammates unique, beyond who they are as athletes, but also the motivations that drive each of them on the pitch.
“The fact that we protect our team and what we believe in, what we stand for, I think that translates into our chemistry our cohesion,” Buisa said. “The way that we come together is what will allow us to be elevated and go for gold.”
The Canadian women’s speed, agility, strength and evasiveness sets them apart, she said. She demonstrates those elements by being an aggressive and physical presence out on the pitch.
The sevens team is confident and ready to show the world the result of the work they’ve put in, Buisa said. Their goal is to stay consistent regardless of who they’re playing at the Games, she added, noting reaching the podium is anyone’s game right now.
“You can’t underestimate the work that other countries are doing.”
She and her teammates are cognizant about what it means to represent Canada in the wake of the recent findings of child remains at former residential school sites. The team will be honouring those children and showing solidarity with Indigenous communities at the Olympics, she said.
“That holds dear to our hearts.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.