This week Clare Gibson will take on the world as Australia’s sole female high jumper at the IAAF World Youth championships in Cali, Columbia. The only WA representative in Australian’s 21 athlete team, Gibson is set to line up against the world’s best Under 18 athletes and prove why High Jumpers are taking over WA athletics.
Debuting as one of the Australian captains, Gibson joins a prestigious list of previous WA World Youth representatives including ten-time Australian Javelin champion Kim Mickle and Pole Vaulting stars Vicky and Liz Parnov.
The seventeen year old will be looking to make the most of her first international team and is ready for what ever comes her way.
‘Ultimately, I’d love to come away with a new personal best, but overall I really just want to enjoy the experience. I’m looking forward to meeting [athletes from] other countries [and] being able to compete amongst the world’s best is pretty exciting. This experience will strengthen me as an athlete, no matter the outcome and I hope that I can make the most of it while I'm here.’ said Gibson
Gibson secured her spot at this year’s Australian Junior Athletics Championships, after rising to the challenge of jumping two season bests of 1.77m over four days in both the U18 and U20 competition. Their is no doubt that the endearing Iona athlete is able to get the job done regardless of the stress.
‘I feel so lucky to be able to wear the green and gold. It's taken so much hard work and dedication to get to this point and to make the team, so I really feel very privileged to be representing Australia. I hope that I can do us proud and jump the absolute best I can.’
Training alongside Commonwealth Games finalist Zoe Timmers and under the careful eye of Nenad Peisker, Gibson has been well guided through a mixed domestic season and credits them as key to her successful selection.
‘Put it back two years ago and I never would have made the world youth team. But with the encouragement from my coach and family, I trained hard and the results followed. I'm still amazed and shocked with how far I've come and I've exceeded expectations already. I hope I can continue to improve over the upcoming season, and make the world Junior team next year.’
With over 1200 athletes set to compete at the World Youth Championships, Australia hopes to best it’s results from the 2013 Donestk World Youth Championship where we collected three gold medals and one bronze. Tasmania sprint star Jack Hale and Victorian thrower Ned Weatherly are among Australia's medal hopefuls.
Competition at Cali 2015 commences on Wednesday 15 July, with Gibson set to open her campaign on Wednesday morning. You can keep updated on Australia’s performance at athletics.com.au.