Aliyah Johnson is our 34th Athlete to speak to us about making the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships Team. Members of the Spark Team will compete in Eugene (USA), from July 22nd to 27th 2014.
How did you get involved in Athletics?
I wanted to be a gymnast when I was 5, but they predicted I’d be a bit too tall for it in the long run (I’m now 177cm) So one of my mums friends recommended little athletics because I was quite energetic. So I joined little athletics in the U/6 age group.
When you first heard that you made the team, what was your initial reaction?
I was pretty stoked. After competing at world youth last year I set myself the goal of making this team, and with this year being the first year I’ve solely focused on this event, I couldn’t be happier with how things rolled out!
Are you doing anything differently in preparation for this competition?
I got injured 2 months out of world youths so the main focus of this preparation is to stay injury free! Leading up to nationals the focus was to jump qualifiers and certain distances. Now the focus is to get certain technical elements right which will help me to jump a lot further!
What are you most looking forward to about the trip to Eugene (USA)?
Of course putting on the green and gold and competing at historic Hayward field is going to be very exciting! We have a very talented team so watching them compete up against the best U20 athletes in the world will be awesome. I’m also looking forward to seeing all my family that I haven’t seen since I moved from the US to Australia.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in this sport?
Steve Soloman really inspires me. He’s proven you can do anything no matter how young you are i.e Olympic finalist as a junior. Jessica Ennis inspires me too. She’s not only a great athlete. But one of the greatest athletes in the world. Being an ex heptathlete I know it takes guts to be a heptathlete. Jess hasn’t had an easy road to becoming 2012 Olympic champion either. A lot of highs and lows and I love the fact she never gave up and persisted through them all.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to become a professional Athlete?
Be nice, work hard, stay humble and stay hungry.