INTERNATIONAL REWARD: Ipswich athlete Rochelle Vidler with the gold medal she won in the under 18 hammer at the Melanesian Games in Vanuatu.
INTERNATIONAL REWARD: Ipswich athlete Rochelle Vidler with the gold medal she won in the under 18 hammer at the Melanesian Games in Vanuatu. Vic Pascoe

Rochelle's anxious wait for Olympic opportunity

WITH another gold medal around her neck Rochelle Vidler is waiting anxiously for the biggest international opportunity of her flourishing career.

The Ipswich and District Athletic Club thrower was keen for confirmation she had been selected on the Australian team for the Youth Olympics in Argentina this year.

Vidler, 17, has already qualified having just won her under 18 hammer event at the Oceania Melanesian Regional Championships. That followed her earlier successes at the Australian championships.

However, the year 12 Ipswich Girls' Grammar School student was yet to be officially notified she was on the national team.

The Youth Olympics for under 17 athletes are in Buenos Aires from October 1-6.

"It's a big opportunity,'' Vidler said.

"It's just a waiting game now.''

Vidler won her latest gold medal with a 58.37m effort on her third throw in Vanuatu.

While below her personal best of 62.79m, Vidler backed up her previous Melanesian Games performance where she won two silver medals.

"My main goal was to win so I could have a better opportunity of being on the Youth Olympics team,'' Vidler said.

"The circle wasn't the best but that's what you get over there. That's okay. I know what I can do.''

Last year in Fiji, Vidler came second in her hammer and discus competitions.

"I've just been focusing on hammer now so I can go further in that,'' she said.

"It's a good opportunity to do internationals.''

She'll have a short break having her latest competition so soon after the main Australian athletics season.

"I'll just kind of catch up on school and get everything organised,'' Vidler said.

Other Ipswich club athletes also impressed at the latest Oceania championships in Vanuatu.

Alexander Gough won a bronze medal in the under 18 2000m steeplechase. He registered a time of six minutes, 16.64 seconds.

Benjamin Thomas collected a bronze medal in his U18 200m event.

He recorded a time of 22.28 seconds in the final after winning his heat in 22.41.

Thomas also competed in the senior men's 4 x 100m and won a gold medal in a slick time of 41.61.

Ipswich athletics supremo Vic Pascoe was delighted with their efforts and those of Queensland Olympian Sally Pearson.

After being forced out of the recent Gold Coast Commonwealth Games through injury, Pearson was kept busy helping the next generation of Aussie athletes.

"It was good to see Sally Pearson placing and adjusting the hurdles as only an expert can do,'' Pascoe said.

"This was when she was not raking the sand pit, carrying poles for vaulting as she joined the army of Vanuatu volunteers who worked diligently throughout the three days to ensure the meet was a huge success.''

The well-travelled Pascoe also enjoyed the Vanuatu hospitality.

"It was amazing to see this country for the first time and maybe I'll have a trip back there sometime,'' he said.



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