Hanna Tait stretching out at the long jump event of the under-18s heptathlon at the Queensland Athletics Combined Events Championships.
Hanna Tait stretching out at the long jump event of the under-18s heptathlon at the Queensland Athletics Combined Events Championships.

Tait retains Queensland heptathlon title

ATHLETICS: Grafton athlete Hanna Tait successfully defended her Queensland heptathlon title when she claimed victory at the under-18 women’s heptathlon at the Queensland Athletics Combined Events Championships earlier this month.

The amazing result comes in Hanna’s third career heptathlon, and follows on from her efforts of becoming a state champion in just her crack at the seven-leg event at last year’s Queensland state titles.

While last year’s Queensland title came as a surprise to the Grafton Athletics Club member, this time around Hanna said she knew what to expect.

After strong performances in the first day’s competition of 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200m, and the second day’s events of long jump and javelin the title still went down to the wire.

“This year was definitely a lot tougher, and I wasn’t actually sure if I was going to be able to take it out because it came down to the last even, the 800m,” Hanna said.

Hanna Tait (third from left) out of the blocks during the 100m hurdles event of the under-18s heptathlon at the Queensland State Combined Events Championships.
Hanna Tait (third from left) out of the blocks during the 100m hurdles event of the under-18s heptathlon at the Queensland State Combined Events Championships.

Sitting in second place going into the last event Hanna, and with the added complication of the competitor in third place being a good 800m runner, Hanna’s coach calculated she needed to be within nine seconds of third place.

Hanna was able to stick with her for most of the first lap but she began to slip away on the second but fought hard and managed to hang in and finish second, 5.5 seconds behind first place.

“The level of competition was a bit higher this year, there were also a couple of new unknown athletes,” Hanna said.

“It was good though, when this year’s event came around I knew what to expect, last year I gave it a go and thought a bit of fun somehow I qualified for the nationals.”

This year’s Queensland title also saw Hanna again qualify for the National Combined Events Championships which will be held at QSAC Brisbane on February 15-16.

“That competition will be really good, there’ll be a lot of strong competitors,” Hanna said.

“From here I’m getting into the training. Just going in the nationals again to experience it will be awesome, I don’t think I’ll come out with a win in that one but it’ll be really good to compete.

“There’s some really lovely and awesome girls in heptathlon so to watch them compete is a thrill, I often learn from them as much as I do from my coaches because they’re going through it with me at the same time.”

Hanna’s mother Nicole said over the past 12 months Hanna has worked and trained really hard and has enjoyed learning about not only the techniques that will improve her performance but also about the nutrition and psychology required to compete over the two days of the heptathlon and in sport in general.

Hanna said she was grateful for the support she has received from a number of coaches in the Coffs Clarence Area, including Terry West, Glen Thacker, Michelle Hurcum and Sarah Wood. Hanna has also been supported by Shannan White at Grafton Physio and Sport EP and Lauralea Moss with acupuncture and remedial massage.



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