By Ben Hope
MARYKNOLL teenager Molly Saunders will spend the next two months training hard before she embarks on the trip of a lifetime to hone her skills on the Canadian athletics circuit.
In June Molly will join a group of 38 athletes, parents and coaches on a 20-day tour of Canada where she will train and compete in athletics competitions.
The tour is run by Sports Travel Australia and is designed to give promising athletes the opportunity to experience international competitions.
The Pakenham Secondary College student received an invitation to join the tour after competing in the Victorian track and field championships last November.
“I ran a few personal bests in the championships,” Saunders said.
For the first week the athletes will be in Kelowna, Canada where they will train before competing in the Jack Brow Memorial track meet. For the next eight days the group will move to Vancouver where they will enter the Trevor Craven Memorial. It won’t be all hard work however, on the way home the group will stop by Las Vegas as well as visiting Dream World and Disneyland.
Molly began competing in athletics after trying the sport aged eight and took to the triple jump, 200 metres and hurdles.
“Mum took me down to Pakenham Athletics to give it a go and I really enjoyed it,” she said.
“I have a lot of fun; you are always meeting new people. It is a great experience that lets you travel to different places to compete.”
Before she leaves for on the 20-day trip Molly will be training hard with her coach at Pakenham Athletics, Gordon Talbot who agrees the experience will be a valuable learning curve.
“A couple of other athletes I coach have been on similar tours and they got a lot out of it,” Talbot said.
“It is a good opportunity to see how things are done differently overseas and give the kids exposure to international competitions.”
After taking the last few weeks off at the end of the athletics season, Molly was back training again this week.
“While I am in Canada we will be training during the week with competitions on the Saturdays,” Molly said.
“I am training two to three times a week in the lead-up to the trip. It will be a great opportunity to learn some new skills.”
Molly has also begun fund-raising for the trip to help cover her travel costs and is holding a dinner and auction night at the Maryknoll Hall on 1 May.
By Ben Hope