IPC Athlete of the Month: Kristy Pond
Australian Para-Athlete Kristy Pond has beaten off stiff competition from a number of Paralympic and World Champion athletes, including South African``Blade Runner’' Oscar Pistorius, to be crowned the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Athlete of the Month for May 2011. Although only 14, Kristy is in the Paralympic shadow squad for the London. In this interview Kristy explains her disability and outlines her path to London.
ANSW: How did you get involved in track and field? In what events have you competed? What have been your achievements? What is your category of disability?
Kristy Pond: My brother Tim started me in athletics, first in shot put. Major events I have competed in are Pacific School Games, Paralympic Youth Games, Sydney Track Classic and two International events; Summer Down Under and Arafura Oceania Paralympic Games. My classification is T (track) & F (field) 34. The 3 confirms my disability of Cerebral Palsy and the 4 shows the level of disability which puts me in seated events. Cerebral Palsy classifications can go to an 8 for Athletes more mobile than I am. I currently hold Australian records in 12 field and 18 track events from U/12 – Open, plus seven Oceania Records in the Open Women. Just last weekend I did my first 10k event at the Adidas Sydney 10, with the help of a great lead rider, Matt Rowan ANSW, in a time of 38mins.
ANSW: Where there any family members who were athletes or other sports people?
Kristy Pond: I come from a sports mad family, including my grandparents, mum, Tim, my uncle and cousin all of whom have represented at a National level in lots of different sports except athletics.
ANSW: What clubs have you competed for? What other sports have you done?
Kristy Pond: My first and one of my two current clubs is CPSARA (Cerebral Palsy Sporting and Recreation Association). I have competed for them in swimming and also athletics. I also compete for Hills District Senior Athletics Club of which I have been a member for two years. I did one year at Winston Hills Little Athletics. The first sport I started out in was swimming which I gave up to focus on athletics. I still hold one state record for 100m freestyle and in summer swimming is part of my training program.
ANSW: Where were you born and raised?
Kristy Pond: I was born in Bangkok Thailand three months too early. Due to my medical needs I was transferred to the Children’s Hospital, Westmead, at an early age and have stayed in Sydney since.
ANSW: Congratulations on your recent IPC award and your results in the Arafura Games. What have been your career highlights?
Kristy Pond: Definitely being the first Baton holder on Australian soil for the 2010 Commonwealth Games Baton Relay on its way to Delhi India. This would have to be closely followed by achieving Paralympic qualifiers for London.
ANSW: You are in the shadow squad for the 2012 PARAlympics. What are your best events for selection?
Kristy Pond: For my classification the 100m and 200m are the core events for London. In world rankings I am currently placed 5th and 2nd respectively.
ANSW: What is your path to Paralympic selection?
Kristy Pond: I am still learning all of this but have camp commitments and will compete in IPC (International Paralympic Committee) sanctioned events including Switzerland, while maintaining and hopefully improving on my current times.
ANSW: The nine-time Paralympic champion, Louise Sauvage is your coach. What influence has she had on your career?
Kristy Pond: Well, in this sport there is no one else like Louise. Louise and Angie (Ballard) have such great experience and their technical expertise is unmatched. They recently helped me order my new racing chair.
ANSW: What are your longer term goals?
Kristy Pond: To be healthy enough to continue competing for many years in athletics.
ANSW: What are your hobbies and interests away from the track?
Kristy Pond: Each term break I like to catch up on some movies. Reading all sorts of books is good and I have 2 Labradoodles – Lucy and Mika named after the Finnish Formula One driver.
Kristy Pond - Statistics
Club: Hills District
Coach: Louise Sauvage
Shot put 4.60m Open weight
Javelin 9.52m Open weight
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image Kristy Pond (Courtesy of David Tarbotton)