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Anderson chasing Commonwealth selection

Anderson chasing Commonwealth selection

Author: Athletics NSW Administrator/Tuesday, 1 April 2014/Categories: News

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.

On Thursday 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.

“Competition 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.”

FIRST SPORTS

Anderson took us back to her first involvement in sport.

“From a 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.

“My Cerebral Palsy didn’t hinder me, it lead me to even more sporting opportunities.”

CEREBRAL PALSY

Anderson is very positive about her disability and can see the amusing side too.

“My 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.”

ATHLETICS

“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.

EVENTS

In pursue of Commonwealth Games selection, Rae Anderson has had to alter her priority events.

“My 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 more powerful.”

HER 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.”

FUTURE GOALS

“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. “

OTHER INTERESTS

“Away from 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.

“I would 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. “

SUPPORTERS

“Ultimately, 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 future.

“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 Athletics NSW

Image: Rae Anderson (image courtesy of David Tarbotton)

 
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