|In the following interview Nicholas Southgate and Kerry Charlesworth tell us about their recent records in the pole vault …
Over the recent season you have set records in the pole vault, would you like to tell us about these records?
Nicholas Southgate - Over the recent season I have set three New Zealand records. The first record was in November 2010 at Mt Smart while I was attempting to qualify for the World Youth Championships. I jumped 4.80m which was a new M16 Record. The second record was in February 2011, again at Mt Smart. I improved my old record by 10cm and set a new M17 Record of 4.90m. My last national record was set in March 2011at the Australian U20 Champs in Sydney where I placed second in the U20 grade with a height of 4.95m, improving both my M16 and 17 records. My most recent record was only a week ago on April 3rd. I jumped 4.75m, setting a new Secondary Schools record (originally set by Paul Gibbons, 4.50m in 1989, one of the longest standing secondary school records).
Kerry Charlesworth - I set a new New Zealand 19-and-under record by 5cm at the Australian U20 championships where I came second with a height of 4.05m due to countback. I set a new North Island schools record with a height of 3.85m last weekend.
What’s your current PB?
Nicholas Southgate - My current PB is 4.95m which I set at the Australian Junior (Under 20) Championships in Sydney 11-15 March 2011.
Kerry Charlesworth - 4.05 metres.
What national pole vault titles have you won?
Nicholas Southgate - I hold the National Secondary Schools title, the National M16 title and the National M19 title.
Kerry Charlesworth - W16,17,18,19 New Zealand records and W16,19 and open national titles.
What do you put your recent success down to?
Nicholas Southgate - I have always enjoyed training and my coach Jeremy pushes me to achieve great things. His enthusiasm helps me to be motivated and work hard at every training session. I have a great training venue at Millennium and lots of support from the club. I also have a good support team at home.
Kerry Charlesworth - My new coach Rob Mallinder who has been training me for only one year, but we have both worked hard to change my technique and get fit. Also the attitude to never give up and not be afraid of failure.
What does a week’s training consist of and how does it differ between the start of season and the competition phase?
Nicholas Southgate - I usually train five days a week. Each week includes two jumps sessions and two running sessions with a gymnastics session on a Friday, and during the season I usually compete on Saturday. During the off-season I concentrate on fitness and short run-ups. During the competitive season I work on more explosive conditioning and full run-ups.
Kerry Charlesworth – A week’s training in winter consists of some double days, training every day except Sunday, and is mainly focused on the basic technique and also basic fitness, lots of running and weights. Summer season is training every day except Sunday and we do more full jumping and competitions, gymnastics, lighter weights to maintain strength and also explosive sprints. When peaking the training load backs off and we usually just have full vault sessions with basic conditioning (pull ups etc).
Who is your coach and how long have been coached by this person?
Nicholas Southgate - My coach is Jeremy McColl and he has coached me since I first picked up a pole. I started training with him around two-and-a-half to three years ago.
Kerry Charlesworth – Rob Mallinder, only one year.
What got you into pole vaulting?
Nicholas Southgate - Jeremy used to be my gymnastics coach when I was very young (aged 8 to 10). I contacted him many years later because I knew he was into athletics and asked him to help me with high jump and triple jump for a school athletics competition. When we met up he asked me if I would like to try pole vaulting, so I said “sure” and it went from there.
Kerry Charlesworth – I was a New Zealand gymnast to start off with but broke my back which forced me to quit. Both my sisters are New Zealand athletics representatives for javelin and the hammer throw which got me into athletics. They said I would be good at pole vaulting, so I gave it a go and loved it! Ever since then I've been training hard to achieve my dream to go to the Olympic Games.
What about other sports?
Nicholas Southgate - Before pole vaulting, I was a competitive gymnast for about nine years (from the age of five) and I was very committed until I got a recurring wrist injury and then I found pole vaulting. My gymnastics years have helped me immensely. I think that the training I had from an early age helped me to pick up the techniques involved in pole vault. Apart from that I enjoy almost any physical challenge: touch rugby, snow boarding, water skiing, tennis, running.
Kerry Charlesworth – Gymnastics was my first sport and I trained 35 hours a week as I was under the elite programme. At the moment I do horse riding alongside pole vaulting as a hobby and a means to clear my head from pole vault and to just get away from everything.
What are your long term goals for pole vaulting and athletics?
Nicholas Southgate - I always keep an eye on the New Zealand records set by Paul Gibbons, but my other goals are to improve on this season’s results in France at the Word Youth Championships in July. Place in the top five for the World Junior Championships next year in Spain, to attend the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and in five years to go to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. I am currently in the development squad working towards the Rio Olympics.
Kerry Charlesworth – My long term goal at the moment is to go to Spain for the World Junior Champs and get a medal there next year (this is what my training is evolved around at the moment). My dream and longer term goal is to make the Olympic Games team and do well.
What do you like about pole vaulting?
Nicholas Southgate - At the moment I like how much I am improving. I also like that it is a good mix of athletics and gymnastics, but the height definitely adds an exciting aspect to it.
Kerry Charlesworth - The feeling of clearing over that bar and falling to the mats. When you’re in the "zone" while you vault it’s like no one else is around you and it’s just you. Its something I’m good at and is my whole life, it gives me a desire and goal to achieve in my life and lets me do something that scares me every day.
Are there any sports people that have influenced you?
Nicholas Southgate - There are many sports people that have inspired me, but I greatly admire Sergei Bubka because he was such a talented athlete and is the current world record holder.
Kerry Charlesworth - Yelana, the woman's world record holder for pole vault, and Bubka the world record holder for men. My old gymnastics coach Alexandra Koudinov.
What school, do you go to?
Nicholas Southgate - I am in Year 12 (Form 6) at Rosmini College in Takapuna.
Kerry Charlesworth - Rangitoto College.
Which athletics club do you belong to and how long have you been with this club?
Nicholas Southgate - I am a member of the North Shore Bays Cougars and have been since 2008 when I began pole vaulting.
Kerry Charlesworth - Bays Cougars - 4 years.
Is there anything else about you that you think readers might be interested in?
Nicholas Southgate - I have been selected to represent New Zealand at the World Youth Championships in Lille, France later on this year. Knowing that my maternal grandfather competed in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, my long term goal is to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics of 2016, just as my grandfather did 60 years before. I have set up a website, www.nicksouthgate.co.nz and am open to any sort of sponsorship to help me on my way to France and beyond.
Kerry Charlesworth - I was born in South Africa and lived in England for six years then moved to New Zealand.