Refreshed, re-energised, relaxed and ready to rip in.
Ryley Batt says his eight-month break from wheelchair rugby couldn't have come at a better time as he prepares to again lead the Australian Steelers in the Canada Cup on June 2-5.
The Port Macquarie athlete thought the Steelers' fourth-place finish at the postponed Tokyo Paralympic Games back in August and September was going to be his swansong, but now he's focused on Paris 2024.
"If I didn't have the break I wouldn't be playing anymore," Batt admitted.
"When I said I needed a break (the coaching staff) didn't bother me at all, they just let me go and it felt a bit weird to be honest. When you've been part of that team for 20 years it felt like you've been pushed out the back door in a way, but I knew what they were doing."
In an emotional finale to the Paralympics, Batt recalled the moment he thought he was heading into retirement.
"I remember listening to the national anthem with pride (in the bronze medal match) and tearing up and I've never done that," he said.
"Looking back, that was my mind going 'this is your last one, you're done'."
When the dust settled is where Batt, who turns 33 on May 22, became determined to lead the Steelers one more time.
"I thought I was done in Tokyo and the plan was to be done in Tokyo, but I feel like we've been ripped off a little bit by COVID-19 with our run in to Tokyo," he said.
"I'm at that time in my life now where I've been part of the sport for 20 years and that's almost two-thirds of my life, so it's almost like a child for me.
"I still want to play with that high intensity and competitive nature, but my goal has now changed from medalling to helping the future."
The Canada Cup will see the Steelers compete as one of the top eight nations in the world as they start preparations for the world championships in Denmark later this year and then Paris 2024.
Even after playing for more than two decades, Batt admitted he was still nervous about his return to the top level.
"It does feel like you're starting from scratch again which is good in a way because you see so many teams be number one in the world for so many years and all the other teams are chasing them," he said.
"We can now chase other team's tails and can fly under the radar a bit and not be copied."
Batt hasn't set the bar too high for Canada and preferred to look at it as a step in the right direction and a return to some normality.
"Every team goes through a rebuilding phase and we made every major final since 2007," he said.
"Tokyo was the first final we missed out on. Let's see if we can get back up there."
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