The Otago-based sprinter made a huge breakthrough to run a personal best of 11.68 for the 100m at the start of the season. Here we found out much more about the 22-year-old from the Phoenix Athletic Club.
Why did you start athletics?
I was super into sport as a kid and a coach came up to me at my primary school athletics day and asked if I wanted to join a club. I did quit (athletics) for a long time but recently returned to the sport to try and improve my mental health and make friends outside of university.
What was the last piece of athletics advice you received?
While high jumping, I was told “just do your run up like it was a 200m but with a jump at the end”. Disclaimer: this was advice from an athlete, not an actual coach.
What has been your career highlight?
Running a huge PB (11.68) in the 100m at the start of this season after several years of injury and illness.
What has been your athletics low?
Being unable to train or compete for two years due to a concussion. Don’t play rugby, kids!
Where do you see your athletics career ten years from now?
Ideally, I’ll have made it to 32 injury-free. I’m not sure where my athletics career is heading at this stage as it’s still early days, but I hope I will maintain my passion for the sport over the next 10 years, no matter how many 400m reps I have to do in training. Even if I’ve decided to stop competing by then I hope to still be loving my training and working hard every day.
What is your greatest mistake in athletics?
I used to spread myself too thin because I didn’t have the confidence to specialise in any one event or sport.
Which athlete is the most interesting to follow on social media?
Chari Hawkins (a US heptathlete).
Do you have a favourite athletics social media post?
About a year ago, Caitlin Dore (the New Zealand Para-athlete) posted a video of her doing a one armed clean on Instagram – so inspiring!
If you could change one thing about the sport, what would it be and why?
Greater uptake of track and field as a sport option through the schooling system. Athletics has something for every kind of athlete and has the potential to be very inclusive. This would also bring more awareness to the sport, rather than the general public only having exposure to major events.
Which athlete do you most admire from your event?
They don’t all do my event, but I admire and am inspired by my squad. They bring a huge amount of support, passion and perseverance to training. It’s such a rush to see them achieve their goals after watching them work so hard for it every day.
What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?
I was playing hockey and was in a one on one situation with the goalie. I had just had a growth spurt and I am naturally quite an uncoordinated person, so didn’t realise how fast I was running. I looked up from the ball and the goalie was right in front of me. I ended up headbutting the goalie and giving myself a concussion. Somehow the goalie was penalised - silver lining.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I would be a Red Panda. They can wrap themselves up in their tails and use it as a blanket. I often underdress for cold weather, which can be a pretty miserable mistake when you live in Dunedin. This would potentially solve all my problems.
Do you have a nickname?
I was nicknamed ‘Roasty’ in high school because I would bring a whole chicken to school and eat it for lunch. Everyone was convinced I had a rotisserie in my locker.
If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
Psychokinesis. It encompasses a lot of abilities - I could grab things without having to get up, making meals would be so much less effort, I could levitate, and practice energy healing.
What is the funniest joke you know?
What do you call a guy with no arms or legs who loves swimming?
Where do you see yourself when you are 50?
I hope I’ll still be active, perhaps in a sport that is less demanding on the body. I would like to be living in New Zealand, exploring our beautiful country and living as self-sufficiently as possible in a tiny house.
What is the most ridiculous fact you know?
The digestive system of a squid passes through its brain. Theoretically, a squid could sustain brain damage by not chewing its food enough.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be and why?
The human tendency to react negatively towards anything that is confronting or doesn’t align with their point of view. People need to be more open to the experiences, views and feelings of others, giving one another understanding rather than shooting them down without discussion.
If you could host a talk show what three guests would you invite and why?
Taika Waititi, Russell Brand and Emma Watson. Taika Waititi seems like a very witty, intelligent guy who would bring some interesting stuff to the table while keeping it lighthearted. I’ve been following Russell Brand on YouTube for a while now and am really interested in his spiritual adventure and lessons on self-love. Emma Watson is using her powerful voice to advocate for feminism and environmentalism, which are two things I feel passionately about.