NORTH Nowra’s Mikayla Check will prove that no hurdle is too high, when she competes at the Oceania Athletics Regional Championships in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
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The 17-year-old will represent Australia in the under 18s women’s 400m hurdles – against athletes from 16 other countries.
The ascendancy of the career of the Nowra High School student has been immense, only starting competing three-and-a half-years ago.
”When I was younger, Mum (Janine) enrolled my sister (Lara) and I into dancing as she didn’t want us to feel like we had to follow in the footsteps of her family, as both my mum and her sister were national level athletes,” Check said.
“As we grew older, my sister and I both enjoyed the school athletics carnivals, deciding to give up dancing to start competing and training.
“I was naturally a strong sprinter, while Lara (14-years) is now a NSW state silver medallist in high jump.”
While Check admits competing at her first international meet is a career highlight.
The athlete had to work hard to reach this point in her career.
“I’ve had a rollercoaster ride of achievements during my short time in the sport,” she said.
“Within my first year of competing , I won two NSW state medals in the 100m sprint and 200m hurdle events.
“I qualified for the 2016 Australian Championships in Perth but I injured my hamstring with a 12cm tear, six weeks prior to the event.
“Intensive physio and rehabilitation got me to the starting line, but my hamstring tore mid-race and I suffered chronic hamstring issues for the next two years.
“Additionally, I also suffered heart-attack like symptoms when sprinting, forcing me to rest until specialists could find a diagnosis.
“I owe endless credit to Katrina Davis of Nowra Chiropractic Centre who accurately diagnosed me with scoliosis and my hips being 1.5 inches out of alignment, causing my cardiac and chronic hamstring issues.
“Within a few weeks, Katrina’s skeletal adjustment treatment enabled me to return to the sport I love.
“It was in November, 2017 I decided to focus on the 400m hurdle event, now being too old for the junior 200m hurdle event.
“I did not have much training under my belt having missed much of 2016/17 season. However, I attempted the event for the first time in November last year and surprised myself by running two seconds under the national qualifying time.
“This was extremely exciting, but not long after I was again hit with disappointment and I was rushed to hospital with suspected appendicitis, six hours prior to the NSW State Junior Championships in March.
“A ruptured ovarian cyst was the cause of the pain, leaving me with severe cramping and nausea for weeks to follow, again disrupting my training regime.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to compete at an international event and following six weeks of solid training, post a new personal best, if possible.”
Check is one of two athletes from Australia who will be competing in Vanuatu in the 400m hurdles this week.
“I have now enjoyed good health for the past month, and hope to achieve a personal best time in Vanuatu,” she said.
“Having had such a disrupted preparation with illness and injury and having only run the event three times in competition, my priority is to improve every time I run.
“I’m hoping to reward the hard work of my coaches Sharon and Baz of Az-athletics and as well as the commitment of my mother and employers Simon and Rebecca Wilmot at Baker’s Delight Nowra Mall, with a strong performance overseas.”
The Oceania Games is seen as a stepping stone for the Nowra Athletics Club star, who has big dreams for the future.
“With my disrupted preparation and injuries/illness, I did not expect to achieve the results I have this year,” she said.
“I am now motivated to train hard for the future and see what I can achieve with a solid training base and more experience in the event.
“However, I have to balance my training with school as I am currently in year 11 at Nowra High School and hope to head to university to become a doctor specialising in sports medicine.”
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