BACK TO SCHOOL: Olympian Dina Aspandiyarova (right)  with former student Rochelle Vidler and school principal Dr Peter Britton.
BACK TO SCHOOL: Olympian Dina Aspandiyarova (right) with former student Rochelle Vidler and school principal Dr Peter Britton. Rob Williams

Hammer time at IGGS

IT'S not only Ash Barty who is flying the flag for Ipswich on the world sporting stage, with a former Ipswich Girls' Grammar student dropping in to inspire the next generation while training for her next big event.

Rochelle Vidler finished school last year and has spent most of this year in training for her chosen event, the hammer.

Vidler competed for Australia at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, and was joined by triple Olympian, shooter Dina Aspandiyarov to present the school with an Olympic flag.

The Ipswich born and bred 18-year-old has been doing athletics for more than a decade and is preparing for the Under 20 World Athletic Championships in Nairobi, Kenya next month.

"Right now I'm focussing on that event, then hopefully the 2024 Olympic games in Los Angeles,” Vidler said.

"When I left school I didn't really have any idea what I was doing but know that I wanted to focus on my sport.

"Training for hammer means I'm in the gym about four days a week, and I still enjoy it.”

While the hammer doesn't get the attention other sports do, it remains one of the oldest events on the athletic program, with roots dating back to the 15th Century, it has been part of the Olympics since the Paris games in 1900.

Vidler knows that it is a sport that can take years to train for, but comes down to less than 10 seconds of performance.

"It can be stressful knowing that all that training comes down to just six seconds or so on the field, but I try to keep calm, rely on my training and realising that I know I can do it,” she said.

"I started athletics when I was about seven, went to national championships when I was 10, so it's been part of my life for a long time.

"It was really good and a bit weird going back to Ipswich Girls' Grammar School.

"It was so nice to see everyone, including the teachers.

"My advice to students who are leaving school this year is just to try to focus on what you want.

"Find what it is you are passionate about and just go for it.”

Vidler is also putting her support behind the Queensland bid for the 2032 Olympics.

"Having the games here would mean so much to me as an athlete. It would mean all my family could see me represent my country, and it would be so good for Queensland. As an athlete, having the support of your family is such a boost to your confidence,” Vidler said.