Ipswich teenagers share in Oceania success
IPSWICH international achievers Annie McGuire and Rochelle Vidler have plenty of adventure to share with their friends when they return to school next week.
Two gold medals, two silver successes and setting an under-18 Oceania record were the most satisfying achievements.
The 16-year-old national champions can also relive their first international experience representing Australia, talking about the different food and culture.
But best of all, McGuire and Vidler have returned from Fiji having showcased their international quality.
Lockyer District Athletics Club long jumper McGuire collected gold in her main under-18 event at the Oceania Championships in Suva.
She also won a gold representing the Australian 4x100m relay team. She ran the second leg in a record time of 47.73.
Dedicated Ipswich and District Athletic Club thrower Vidler was rewarded with silver medals in the under-18 hammer and discus.
Although McGuire's 5.73m leap was below her personal best 5.90m, she was happy to win given the extra challenge competing for the first time on the international stage.
"I was pretty disappointed with my measurement but considering the conditions, I'm not too sad about it,'' she said.
"It was pouring down rain at the start of the day and then once the rain stopped, the wind picked up.''
Karrabin-based McGuire had to keep calm to win gold on her final leap.
"I was not doing so well at the start but then I just worked with the conditions at the end and got a fairly good one in,'' she said.
All that came after a "pretty intense'' three-hour flight to Nadi International Airport and a four-hour bus trip to Suva before competing.
But producing a golden leap at the critical time gave her a boost for future major competitions.
"It helps me understand what it's going to be like for the next one hopefully that I'll be going to,'' she said.
McGuire also appreciated having her parents Ros and Chris in Fiji, along with brother Beau and sister Madeline.
"That helped me a lot because whenever I was feeling a little nervous or anything, they'd just come over and help me out,'' she said.
Ipswich Girls' Grammar School year 11 student Vidler also had an outstanding competition in Fiji.
She opened her campaign with a silver medal-winning discus throw of 39.57m.
However, it was in her main event - the under-18 hammer - that Vidler again showed her immense promise.
Her personal best throw of 60.63m broke the Oceania and Queensland under-18 records. The winner reset the Oceania record with a 61.77m throw in Suva.
With the Youth Olympics in Argentina next year, Vidler appreciated the opportunity to represent Australia overseas for the first time.
"It was a great experience. It was a good insight into international competition,'' Vidler said.
For an athlete aged 16, Vidler is already showing maturity beyond her years. That is highlighted in her regularly excelling against older athletes.
However, winning medals in hammer and discus in Fiji also exposed her to a range of higher level experiences in contrast to what she sees and does at state and national titles. "It was a different atmosphere with everything and there's more independence I guess,'' she said. "I liked it. It was good.''
Friends with Ipswich-based Aussie teammate Annie McGuire, Vidler was happy to see her do so well as the pair adjusted to the food and travel requirements.
"Annie was right next door to me,'' Vidler said.
Vidler hopes to qualify for next year's Youth Olympics when she contests the national titles in February. But she'll have a short break before focusing on her school events at Ipswich Girls' Grammar.
Meanwhile, Lockyer District club head coach Bailey Pashley said McGuire's gold medal effort under testing conditions typified her character.
"This was an excellent result for the young athlete who had to extend her season by three months,'' Pashley said.
"It meant that Annie had to stay motivated after her national title win in March and not succumb to overtraining and physical fatigue.''
However, the West West Moreton Anglican College year 11 student will be straight back into athletics on Monday.
It's the college sports day where McGuire expects to compete in a range of events.
It just won't be after an extended travel journey or having to eat so much rice - as she did in Fiji.