A greater focus when competing and the strong support of family and coaches is paying dividends for Christchurch Girls’ High School’s NZSS shot put champion Jaidyn Busch.
“A lot of the time I compete I get nervous and don’t really warm-up properly but in both the South Islands and then in Australia I thought to just give it my all and not care about what others do,” explains Jaidyn.
“I have been supported a lot by both my coach and my family - both physically and mentally – to help calm my nerves and focus more when I am competing.”
The two recent meets she is referring to above are the South Island Secondary School (SISS) Track and Field Championships and the Australian Athletics Championships, where she recently had two record breaking wins to end the athletics season.
The first was in Nelson where she not only won the SISS Senior Girls Shot Put title, she broke the meet record and set a personal best. At the SISS championships she threw the 3.00kg shot put 16.21m.
The second event was last week at Olympic Park in Sydney where she was crowned Australian U20 Women’s Shot Put champion.
Moving up to the senior 4.00kg weight, she threw a new personal best of 14.38m – throwing that with her first throw and also throwing over 14.13m with her second throw. Her previous PB with the heavier weight was 13.42m, so a huge improvement.
“I didn’t know who I was up against and didn’t expect a place – I just went over to Australia with the mindset that this will be a great experience and to just give it my best," Jaidyn says.
Her coaches in Canterbury are Amanda Murphy, who is also a former Canterbury and Black Ferns rugby player, and Dale Stevenson who is also senior male star Tom Walsh’s coach.
Neither of her coaches were in Australia with her last week when she won the national U20 title, but she was quick to tell them the good news. “They couldn’t get time off work to attend but I was on the phone calling them straight away as soon as I threw!”
Jaidyn’s father is a big supporter. “He always comes to my events and takes me everywhere and he has always supported be and motivated me since I was younger.”
Shot put is her sole focus, although she wants to start hammer next year as well.
Now that the athletics season is over, what is coming up for Jaidyn?
“I have got two weeks off right now, but I am going to start winter training and also resume playing rugby. I love rugby, that is my other favourite sport.”
Jaidyn plays No. 8 for the Christchurch Girls’ High School rugby team and for Christchurch club side High School Old Boys. She says that training for both sports has many similarities so, assuming she doesn’t get injured playing rugby, the benefits are mutual.
She is from Hinds in Ashburton, but lives with her step-grandparents in Christchurch and attends Girls’ High.
Prior to her recent SISS and Australian successes, Jaidyn was busy competing in the several athletics meets around New Zealand this season, including the New Zealand Track and Field Championships and the Big Shot event in Canterbury earlier this year.
At the NZ Track and Field Championships held in Christchurch from 8-10 March, Jaidyn finished fourth overall in the Senior Women’s Shot Put and second in the U20 Women’s Shot Put, behind winner Kaia Tupu-South of Westlake Girls’ High School.
At the end of the year in Wellington Jaidyn will be defending her New Zealand Secondary School’s Senior Girls Shot Put title, which she won in Dunedin last year by throwing 16.00m in a big effort at the end of a hard-fought competition.
“It is my last year at school and I really want to smash it out there. I want to improve my PB but I also just want to enjoy my last NZSS event.”
She will have strong competition in Wellington in December, such as from her friend Amania Mafi from Upper Hutt College and recent winner of the NISS Senior Girls Shot Put, Kaia Tupu-South, who is just year 12, and Canterbury squad member Tapenisa Havea from St Andrew’s College who is also a hurdler and sprinter.
In December 2017, Jaidyn finished second at the NZSS Championships in Hastings behind Lynfield College’s Madison Wesche, who set a new meet record of 17.03m with her first throw.
Also on Jaidyn’s radar is the 2020 World Youth Olympics in Kenya maybe the Commonwealth and Olympic Games one day. But for now, she is taking a well-earned short break before climbing into off-season athletics training and rugby and studying for her NCEA Level 3 exams at the end of the school year.
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