Ipswich high jumper Cassie Purdon represents Australia at her first Commonwealth Games, during the recent competition at Carrara Stadium.
Ipswich high jumper Cassie Purdon represents Australia at her first Commonwealth Games, during the recent competition at Carrara Stadium. DEAN LEWINS

How Games athlete is using her break

IF she had her first Commonwealth Games over again, Ipswich high jumper Cassie Purdon would have prepared a little differently.

"If I had my time again, I probably wouldn't have gone in (to the Athletes Village) as early,'' she said.

"But in saying that, being the first major senior team I made, I wanted to go to the opening ceremony because that was once in a lifetime.''

Competing on the second last day provided a long wait for the Lanefield athlete.

"It was all right to begin with. It did start to get a little bit harder towards the end but I still managed to stick it out and really enjoyed it,'' she said.

When her competition day finally arrived at Carrara Stadium, Purdon had experienced Village life and scaled back her training.

She was initially "extremely disappointed'' finishing sixth with a 1.84m jump. Her personal best is 1.88m.

"With athletes, nothing is never good enough unless it's a PB,'' she said.

However, like any serious athlete, Purdon learnt from her disjointed preparation.

"I was disappointed with the result but I've had some time now and the performance overall was good,'' she said.

"I had a clear run up until that 1.87 (when she missed her three attempts).''

Her QAS coach Gary Bourne offered Purdon plenty of encouragement after her Games debut on the big stage, as did the thousands of Aussie supporters.

"The crowd was phenomenal,'' Purdon said, having clapped the spectators and performed a little jig after clearing 1.84m.

"I actually thought the camera was not on me. I gave a bit of a dance and got excited.''

Purdon, 21, appreciated being part of the Australian team environment.

"It was insane, very enjoyable,'' she said, pleased her parents John and Ruth got to share the pinnacle of her athletics career so far.

"It was definitely an experience I will remember for a very long time.''

Purdon resumed training and returned to work a day after completing her Games commitments on the Gold Coast.

However, she was waiting on injury scans before plotting her next athletic mission. She was also preparing to head to Long-reach for an overdue holiday.

She'd planned to spend some time with her sister Jessicca in the outback before postponing that due to her surprise call-up for the Commonwealth Games.

However, after everything that happened so fast, Purdon was keen to use her current break in competition wisely.

She wants to receive treatment on her ankle and back injuries so she can extend her higher level athletics career.

"No major comps for a while so I'll try and get everything right really,'' she said. "Make sure all the injuries are taken care of and looked after so I can be in the best shape for the next one.''

The national titles in March loom as Purdon's next major challenge.

"I'll play it by ear for a little while now,'' the former Ipswich and Lockyer District Athletic Club representative said.

However, she was grateful to hear her QAS mentor backing her after such a tough run with injuries.

"He's an unreal coach and definitely has a lot of experience and wisdom under his belt,'' she said of Bourne.

"There's always something to learn from every major comp. This one especially - being in a better head space maybe.''