Self-confidence carries Boyd to new heights

Olympic pole vaulter Alana Boyd has the courage – and the ”golden” DNA – needed by any athlete who strives to touch the stars whenever they take one of the greatest leaps of faith in world sport.

Her mother Denise won the gold medal for the 200-metre sprint at the 1978 Commonwealth Games, her pole vaulter father – and coach – Ray also claimed a Commonwealth gold, while, in 2010, the now 28-year-old added more bullion to the family treasure chest when she triumphed at Delhi.

As Boyd prepared to contest her event in the national championships in Sydney on Saturday night, with the main prize being a berth in the Australian team for the world championships in Russia in August, she credited India for providing her with an insight into what’s needed to win.

”I felt confident going into those Commonwealth Games and it helped me because I realised it can mean the difference between first and second … or first and last,” she said. ”That’s how important I learned self-belief is; [I] went into Delhi with nothing to lose. I was in a good position to fight for a gold medal and that confidence proved vital in the end.”

She will call upon it again when she competes against Liz Parnov at the Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre, saying her intention to add yet another national title to her collection won’t be a lark in the park.

”Liz has jumped 4.40m this season, her best is 4.50m, so she can definitely jump up to those heights,” Boyd said of her immediate challenge. ”You want to perform when it really counts … I want to secure my place in the world championships team to give myself a long time between now and August to prepare for them.”

By the time Boyd puts her pole in storage at the end of her season she will have contested 15 competitions. She said only those who have competed in the event could appreciate the demands and the importance of her relationship with the unmistakeable tool of the trade.

”It’s not an event for the faint-hearted,” she said with a laugh. ”It’s one of the most gruelling mental events in athletics … there’s days when you have a love-hate relationship with the pole, too. There are days when you’re ‘on’ and those when you’re ‘not’.”

Boyd Vaulter Magazine
Boyd Vaulter Magazine

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