The golden moment proved elusive, but there was a silver lining to Zoë Boldiston’s maiden international race meet on Saturday.By Damen Francis
The golden moment proved elusive, but there was a silver lining to Zoe Boldiston’s maiden international race meet on Saturday.
The 15-year-old Kialla race walker represented Australia at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney and won a silver medal in the women’s 5000
Boldiston finished second to Chinese racer Jiayu Yang, who won the race in a time of 23 mins and seven sec.
Despite being on the biggest stage of her young career, Boldiston produced a personal best track time of 24:52.32, breaking the Victoria Country under-16 girls 5000
‘‘It was really exciting to get a medal at my first international meet,’’ Boldiston said.
‘‘Just wearing green and gold is the best feeling ever.
‘‘At the opening ceremony and everything it was just really cool to be able to represent your country.’’
The AYOF is an event for aspiring teenage Olympic athletes from 17 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and China.
A 19-strong contingent of Boldiston’s friends and family made the trek to Sydney to show their support and it did not go unnoticed.
‘‘It was awesome, every time I went past they had the loudest cheer and they had made a poster for me and the girls painted their nails, it was really good to have that much support,’’ she said.
Despite her achievements, Boldiston, who will now turn her attention to the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Perth in March, believes she can go even faster.
‘‘I was hoping to do a faster time, but my back injury was playing up again, so I couldn’t really help that,’’ Boldiston said.
‘‘My legs just went weird and so did my back and it probably just slowed me down a bit in the last two kilometres.’’
The injury, which stems from a stress reaction in her spine two years ago, will be monitored.
Boldiston’s coach Paul Rance said the young athlete ‘‘performed very well’’ and would have benefited greatly from the experience.
‘‘It was her first big event and she would have got a good athletic education out of it,’’ Rance said.
‘‘The girl that won is about to turn 17 and there is a big difference in strength, just from having done more kilometres.
‘‘Over the last three or four laps Zoe started feeling her back a bit, but it didn’t affect the result, probably just her time a little bit.’’
According to Boldiston, there was onlyone thing about her experience she would change.
‘‘I just wish it had been the Australian anthem playing on the podium, rather than the Chinese,’’ she said.
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