Ipswich teenager off to Youth Olympics
HAVING coached Youth Olympics athlete Rochelle Vidler since she was nine, Mick Moore knows how much she deserves her latest opportunity.
And like all supportive coaches, Moore allowed himself a moment to be proud.
"It's always a thrill for me,'' the Ipswich and District Athletic Club throws coach said.
However, his priority is helping Vidler prepare the best she can before representing Australia at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenes Aires from October 6-18.
"She still has a long way to go, she's only 17, but this will be a huge amount of experience for her,'' Moore said.
Australia has chosen 78 competitors in 23 sports for the latest Youth Olympics.
Vidler, who turns 18 in March next year, will compete in her speciality event, the hammer throw.
She was finally offered a spot on the Australian team after athletics positions were extended from an original eight to 13.
"It's worth the wait,'' Vidler said, knowing she will be competing against the best 16 and 17 year-olds from around the world.
Earning a spot at the Youth Olympics is a major reward for Vidler who has twice represented Australia at the Ocean-ia Melanesian Games. She won a gold and silver medal in hammer at those Games the past two years.
"I think it was good I went to Oceania just to get that international feeling of doing that,'' she said.
"Oceania is a small step for a big step.''
The year 12 Ipswich Girls' Grammar School student was the sole Ipswich club representative selected on the national team.
She thanked her long-time coach for encouraging her to switch from her early discus and shotput events to concentrate more on hammer.
"He's been amazing the last seven years,'' she said.
Moore helped Vidler recognise that she had better long-term prospects in hammer.
"She was originally a discus thrower and national champion for that,'' Moore said.
"But for her size, that was never going to go too much further.
"We got into the hammer, probably more by fluke than anything. She just thought she'd give it a go but we found that she was naturally good at it.
"We've dropped discus basically and just now do hammer.''
Vidler said Ipswich Girls' Grammar were also supportive in her quest to represent Australia.
"They are very helpful with sport and all that. They understand,'' she said, rating business her favourite subject this year.
She will be away for three weeks, joining an Australian team camp in Sydney in early October before flying to Buenos Aires.
After the Youth Olympics, Moore said the under-20 World Youth Championships in Kenya would be Vidler's next major goal.
However, her short-term focus is the Youth Olympics, where the national champion can test herself in world-class company.
Vidler will continue training twice a week on technical aspects with Moore, while doing her own gym program and pilates to fine-tune for the Youth Olympics.
"I'm good to go,'' she said, excited about her opportunity.
"That's the plan. Just to keep myself healthy and injury free.''
Decision to specialise paying off
ATHLETE of the future Rochelle Vidler said coming second in her first hammer event at the 2015 national titles in Sydney was a turning point.
"It was like I might actually be good in this,'' she said.
She concentrated on her new event at club and school competitions, winning at national level.
The Ipswich thrower has since remained the best for her age in Australia.
"It's definitely paid off a lot doing hammer,'' she said of her decision to specialise.
She is in terrific form having thrown the hammer 63.89m recently.
Vidler is also part of the Queensland-backed Target Talent Program, which gives promising athletes an opportunity to work with Australia's best coaches.