Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, Wellington, Year 12 high jumper Imogen Skelton joins the 34-strong New Zealand squad in the Bahamas later this month for the Youth Commonwealth Games.
Imogen is one of 11 young kiwis in the Track and Field team, and the only athlete representing Wellington. College Sport Media caught up with Imogen ahead of the trip.
What events are you entered you are entered in and what are your expectations?
I am entered in both the high jump and 800m; however I am just going to be doing the high jump so that I can focus solely on that in order to get the best results possible. I am not sure what to expect seeing as this is my first international athletics competition, but I am hoping to get a personal best.
Is this first time you will be pulling on the black singlet and representing New Zealand?
Last year I represented New Zealand Secondary Schools in cross country at the Australian Cross Country Champs. I don’t think I performed at my best at this event, but it was a really great experience.
Was selection in this team something you had been working towards for some time, was this your goal?
I have always wanted to represent New Zealand in athletics, and so when I found out about the opportunity of being selected for this team it was definitely a goal of mine.
How and when did you qualify for the YCG? Was there a target you had to reach in both the High Jump and 800m?
I found out that I had been selected on 8 May. There were no qualifying standards set by Athletics New Zealand, which made it quite hard to know what to aim for in order to qualify. You just had to apply for the team and then the decisions as to who were selected were made by Athletics NZ and the NZOC, and were based off of performances throughout the season and at the national champs.
Speaking of the two events you are in, are high jump and 800m slightly contrasting events?
Yes they are quite contrasting events. I have always done lots of different events since I was young and I really enjoy both and so have carried on doing both. It is quite challenging to train and compete in the two, so I normally focus on just one for a period of time depending on what competitions I have coming up.
You’ll be coming from the middle of a NZ (Wellington) winter into the hot climate of the Bahamas, how is your training going at the moment and what are you doing training-wise?
The change in climate will definitely be a shock to the system, but I always jump better when it is warm, and I have plenty of time to acclimatise before I compete. So I am looking forward to the hot weather. My training is going well at the moment, I have been doing a mix of strength, speed and technique based training sessions.
What events have you most recently been competing in?
I have done a few of the school cross country events such as the CSW and NZSS cross country champs, however I have just been doing them for fun and haven’t actually been training for them as the long distance training doesn’t have many benefits for high jump.
How did you get into athletics, at what age or competition did you discover you could jump high and run fast?
I realised that I was good at athletics at primary school in about year 4 when I won many of the events at the school athletics day and cross country. I then joined Wellington Harrier Athletics Club when I was 10 and have been doing athletics ever since.
When you return from the YCT what will be your next challenge?
When I return from the Bahamas I will begin preparing for the summer athletics season. I will probably do a few of the local interclubs when the track season starts but the main focus for the rest of this year will be the NZSS Championships.
Do you play other sports, socially or competitively?
I just do athletics in terms of sport, but I also do dancing twice a week.
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