Hep­tathlon’s ris­ing star

Central Leader - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

Born com­peti­tor Natasha Eady got in­volved with ath­let­ics when she was just 4 years old.

The 16-year-old St Cuth­bert’s Col­lege stu­dent has just been named as a sil­ver level mem­ber of the Ath­let­ics NZ Per­for­mance Po­ten­tial Squad for hep­tathlon.

‘‘Now I can pic­ture my­self wear­ing the sil­ver fern, it’s no longer a dis­tant goal, it’s real and it’s here,’’ Natasha says.

‘‘I’ve worked hard for it, but the real hard work is only just be­gin­ning.’’

Com­pet­ing in hep­tathlon means Natasha has to train in seven dis­ci­plines: 100m hur­dles, high jump, long jump, 200m sprint, javelin, shot put and 800m run.

‘‘I love do­ing a va­ri­ety of events, it makes train­ing a bit harder but it’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing, it’s never bor­ing,’’ she says.

Long jump is her favourite event. She finds hur­dles the most chal­leng­ing.

‘‘I’ve fallen a few times dur­ing the hur­dles. It’s hard when you have to get up and fin­ish the race but it’s those mo­ments that re­ally test your men­tal strength and that’s what it is all about.’’

The Eden Ter­race res­i­dent has re­cently had her first taste of in­ter­na­tional suc­cess at the West Coast Re­lays in Cal­i­for­nia win­ning the elite sec­tion of the in­vi­ta­tional long jump and plac­ing sec­ond in the 100m sprint.

She also com­peted at the Ar­ca­dia In­vi­ta­tional Mul­tis, known as the big­gest stage for high school ath­letes in the United States, where she placed 10th and set a new per­sonal best.

‘‘The se­ri­ous­ness was so much more in­tense in the US com­pared to New Zealand, which was a real wake-up call,’’ Natasha says.

‘‘I came back think­ing I have to take this more se­ri­ously and I know now that this is what I want to do.’’

Natasha has also ex­celled in New Zealand com­pe­ti­tions this sea­son.

She won three medals at the Greater Auck­land Champs as well as sec­ond place at the Na­tional Com­bined Events Champs.

Watch­ing her older sis­ter com­pete in ath­let­ics made Natasha want to get in­volved.

‘‘As a younger child you al­ways want to beat your older sib­lings.

‘‘I slowly started get­ting a lot bet­ter at ath­let­ics and it’s such a rush to beat your sis­ter.’’

Rather than look­ing to pro­fes­sional ath­letes Natasha finds it is her com­peti­tors that in­spire her most.

‘‘They mo­ti­vate me to work harder, if people are close to me in abil­ity it makes me push my­self fur­ther.’’

Her coach Kieran McKee has been cru­cial in de­vel­op­ing her abil­i­ties.

‘‘Kieran in­spires me ev­ery day. This year is our 10-year an­niver­sary as a team, he is an amaz­ing per­son.’’

The re­cent se­lec­tion in the Per­for­mance Po­ten­tial Squad has seen Natasha in­crease her train­ing sched­ule to 20 hours a week.

She plans on fo­cus­ing on train­ing over the win­ter so she is in top con­di­tion for the New Zealand Sec­ondary Schools’ Cham­pi­onship in De­cem­ber.

Photo: BEN ROGERS

Fierce com­peti­tor: Natasha Eady says it is her fel­low com­peti­tors that push her to suc­ceed.

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