Few athletes heading to Melbourne this
weekend for the 92nd Australian Championships and Commonwealth Games trials
have overcome the challenges of sporty Central Coast teenager Rae Anderson. She has never allowed the
barriers as a para athlete to hold her back and seen them as providing her more
opportunities. Ahead of the competition this week in Melbourne we caught up
with Anderson who spoke about her sporting career, event focus, coach, squad,
family and goals away from athletics.
afternoon Rae Anderson will line up in the Ambulant long jump which includes
all para classifications, although only some are in the cerebral palsy F37/38
Commonwealth Games eligible category.
for this event is definitely strong,” commented Anderson. “This is the only
event available for both F37 and F38, so everyone is giving it a go and I
believe there are three positions available for this event. With two T37s and
one T38 with ‘A’s already, Australia will be going into the games with a strong
team. I have been jumping in excess of four metres in training and just need to
do it when it counts. With the open nationals next week being the decider,
anything can happen on the day. I feel I am focused and well prepared.”
took us back to her first involvement in sport.
young age my motivation has always been sport and the outdoors. Before I was
even able to walk, I could swim. I would shuffle my way to the pool side and
plonk myself in. I have always loved the ocean, which lead to sailing, surfing
and boating from a young age. At 12 I learnt to sail in my own little boat
called Siwa. Because of my ongoing surgeries and doctor visits, I didn’t get
into competitive sport until I was 10. I joined my school friend’s soccer team
which led to my discovery of domestic sport. During a week I would play soccer,
basketball, oz tag all combined with my various musical instrumental lessons.”
From a young
age it didn’t see like her disability held her back.
Palsy didn’t hinder me, it lead me to even more sporting opportunities.”
very positive about her disability and can see the amusing side too.
disability is called Cerebral Palsy, left Hemipelgia, and was congenital. It
effects my left side including the movement of my hand and foot. My cerebral
palsy has led to some comical situations but I would never call them
challengers as it is part of my daily routine. My mum calls me the six million
dollar kid, as I’ve been pulled apart and surgically put back together again. I
remember three big operations at Westmead Children’s Hospital and many months
of physio and rehab, but I have not looked back. The team there are fantastic
and have made my dreams a possible reality. People always ask me how CP affects
me, I can only think of the small daily things that make me laugh a little while
trying to complete them. Braiding my hair can turn into a marathon of sorts
with the use of only two fingers on my left hand and I learnt from a young age
to tie my shoelaces with one hand! My meals don’t always want to stay on my
plate while using a knife, but CP has taught me how to be adaptive and
resourceful. On the track my CP affects me in a different way. Along with the
cramping and pain of CP, the knee and arm drive required for sprints is
hindered as well as in my chosen event long jump, whereby it is difficult to
obtain the necessary height and lift in my left leg.”
“I discovered competitive athletics
thanks to a chance meeting with Evan
O’Hanlon. It has become all-consuming and does not leave much time for
extra sports. My sailing and boating
will always be a priority on weekends but my athletics is my main focus. I
started athletics in 2010, after hearing about Paralympic sport and seized the
opportunity to compete at a new sport for myself. My only experience with athletics was making
the next level in year six shot put.
In pursue of Commonwealth Games
selection, Rae Anderson has had to alter her priority events.
favourite events have always been the field events. I love throwing, but I have
just recently picked up long jump again, after a 12 month break. It was not
necessarily my strongest event, as throws were always my primary focus, however
I have always enjoyed jumping and this season has seen me improve exponentially
in both distance and technique. Matt (Horsnell, her coach) has prepared me both
physically and mentally in focus for selection of the Australian Team this week.
My training has been altered considerably compensating for the switch of
events. Training has been focused on making me leaner, faster, stronger and
COACH AND SQUAD
Anderson is training heavily towards
the Commonwealth Games trials, along with two squad members who could all find
themselves on the plane to Glasgow.
“I now train up to 10 times a week
in preparation to reach my goals. Five of these sessions are completed with my
coach, Matt Horsnell and squad,
which includes Chris Dodd and Nicola McDermott, at our local track
Mingara or at Bateau Bay Beach stairs at 8am.
Early starts have become a norm, along with the juggling of training and
studies for my preliminary year of high school.
“My coach Matt
has been an incredible support in my athletics aspirations. Along with Mingara
Athletics Club, Matt and my squad have been there for me since the beginning,
and I can’t wait to see where they take me next.”
“I am very
focused on selection this year, training, short term has been focused on my
goal of Glasgow this year. However long term, I have the IPC world
championships in Doha in 2015. The focus there will be discus once more, and
depending on my selections in the Glasgow team it may include long jump. The
ultimate goal however will be the Paralympics in Rio 2016, where I will be 19,
finished school and ready to focus purely on my athletics career. “
the track, school and study takes up most of my spare time. I am in year 11 at
Terrigal High School on the Central Coast. My hobbies predominately revolve
around the beach and water, sailing and boating. A good book or company while
on the water is my ideal way to finish a weeks’ worth of study and training.
love a career around the sporting media. After leaving Terrigal, I plan on
undertaking a communications, media and language degree with Sydney University.
I love the idea of working in media, I have been studying Indonesian for years
now and would love the opportunity to use this in my future endeavours. I have
always wanted to study at Sydney, it’s pretty close to Hogwarts for me. “
I would like to be able to give back and support those who have given me so
much. Westmead Children’s Hospital have played a major role in getting to me to
where I am today, I would love to be able to give back to them in the near
“I love my
family, they play an amazing supporting role to me every day. My mum is my
doctor, masseuse, shoulder and best friend. I wouldn’t have this incredible
opportunity without them all.“
David Tarbotton and Ron Bendall for
Image: Rae Anderson (image courtesy of David