Thompson aims to complete family double
Whitby triple jumper Anna Thomson is off to Rarotonga shortly for her third consecutive Oceania regional championships.
This time she could return as the Oceania open champion, after coming second and third in previous years.
Over the past 18 months Thomson, who has just turned 19, has been trying to break the 12m barrier. She finally did it at the national championships in March, grabbing a national under-20 title in the process.
The jump also put her third in the open rankings. ‘‘That was a good day – I did a little celebratory jump afterwards,’’ she said. ‘‘If I hadn’t jumped over 12m, I may have quit.’’
Her 12.06m mark would have been a Wellington age grade record had it not been slightly wind- assisted, and would have won her the Oceania Open title last year.
Should Thomson be successful in grabbing an Oceania open title in a fortnight’s time, she will be the second person in her family to do so, after older brother Scott won the under-20 triple jump in 2011 and the open title in 2013.
Their Mana Athletics Club coach and father Richard Thomson competed in the shot put at the 1996 Oceania championships.
Anna, who joined the Mana club at 5, usually trains six days a week, including gym sessions, and said having her father as coach had benefits.
‘‘He actually cares – and he can see how I‘ m going to improve down the track.’’
This may be her golden year. She is aiming for a leap of 12.5m in calmer and warmer Rarotonga weather.
‘‘That’s definitely the reason you go – for the conditions, and to have fun with the team.’’
There is another reason she is aiming for 12.5m, apart from a virtually certain title.
‘‘ Once you start jumping around 12.5m it opens up scholarships in the States. I think I can go close – my training is going really well.’’
However, while a 12.5m jump would have placed Thomson among the top 20 teen triple jumpers at the last world junior championships, in 2012, it is well short of the tough 12.9m distance required to compete in the event – a standard so difficult a New Zealand woman has yet to qualify. ‘‘World juniors is like kind of out of the picture,’’ Thomson said.
‘‘Only three New Zealand competitors have [ever] qualified for world juniors – all male,’’ Richard Thomson said.
‘‘The qualifying standards are so ridiculously tough. They‘re just nonsense.’’
Anna’s long-term goal is to represent New Zealand at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Most triple jumpers peak in their mid-20s.