TWO-time pole vault Olympian Alana Boyd qualified for Rio Olympics earlier this year after finishing 11th at the world championships with a 4.6m leap.
The Daily caught up with the 31-year-old Sunshine Coaster to see how her preparations for August’s Games were going.
How are you feeling after your qualification?
“It’s good, I had a break after world champs and I’m back training for the past two months and everything is going well leading into the start the Australian pole vault season.
I’m feeling healthy, I’m back into heavy work in gym, running to get fit and fast, and doing some technical work with pole vault.
In November and December I start short approach run-up competitions until the full run-up competitions start in January.
The first one is in Brisbane and we’re looking at getting some meets at the Sunshine Coast.”
How are you feeling mentally?
“I’m definitely in a good position leading into this Olympics. Before the season’s started I’m already qualified. I didn’t have that before either the Beijing Games or the London Games.
Now I can get on with the prep as I want to and go out there and enjoy the season not having that pressure to get that elusive qualifying mark.
I’ve had good training sessions and I’m happy with where I’m at (considering I am) coming from a not so great European season.
I went into the world champs low on confidence.
In hindsight qualifying early is the best thing that could have happened to me, I can actually mentally be where I need to be.”
How big is confidence for pole vaulters?
“It’s everything. In any sport it’s a huge factor, but pole vault particularly. You can’t be scared going down that runway thinking ‘am I going to do this?’ It does play on your mind.
You have to build that confidence in training so whatever mental state you’re in you should be able to do it.
I think back to the season leading into the 2008 Olympics and I am a totally different athlete now to then, as I should be. I’m an older as a person with life experience. I will take that belief into the Olympics.
You can’t measure that experience going into major champs. It’s invaluable.”
What’s it like growing up in a family of five Australian sporting representatives?
“I know no different, I guess. I have the most supportive parents and brother and sister.
We’re all very competitive, there’s no denying it, but we’re also very encouraging and supportive of one another.
They (parents Denise and Ray) always wanted to encourage us to do whatever sport we chose or career direction.
It has been great knowing I can go to mum and dad about different things I might encounter as an athlete and knowing they’ve done it too is good to draw from their experiences.”
What’s for dinner?
“Chicken on the barbecue and salad.”