Pole vaulter set to soar in Beijing
Published: 28 July 2008
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Ms Boyd Many Australian athletes hope to hit new heights at the Beijing Olympics, but Alana Boyd will likely trump them all.
The UQ business management graduate is Australia's sole representative in the women's pole vault, and earned her place on the team after taking out the event at the 2008 National Athletics Championships with an A-qualifying jump of 4.45 metres.
Both her parents have tasted Olympic success already – her father Ray in 1972 and 1976 in the pole vault and her mother Denise in the sprints and relay events in 1976 and 1980.
“I used to be a hurdler and was always involved in athletics,” Ms Boyd said.
“My dad was a pole vaulter and asked my siblings and I if we'd like to ‘have a swing on a pole' and my brother and I gave it a go. I guess I was a natural and haven't looked back.”
Coached by her father, Ms Boyd holds the Queensland Under 23 record and represented Australia at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.
Her selection for Beijing marks the first time an Australian athlete has followed both parents into the Olympic arena.
“Making the team was very exciting and a bit of relief. It was extra special because I joined my parents as Olympians and created Australian Olympic history,” she said.
“I remember writing on my report card when I was about eight that my goal was to one day represent Australia at the Olympic Games. I had no idea I would be competing in the pole vault.”
While studying at UQ Ms Boyd was the recipient of a sporting scholarship that helped take the pressure off training and physiotherapy expenses, and since graduating in 2004 has honed her skills as a development officer with Athletics Queensland.
And with the biggest meet of her career on the horizon, the 24-year-old is already looking forward to future challenges.
“Right now my goal is to make the final in Beijing and then anything can happen. I am in good shape and ready to jump some big heights,” she said.
“Beijing will only be the start of my career. Come London in 2012 I think I am capable of being very competitive with the top pole vaulters in the world. To win gold in London would be amazing!”