Purdon’s training hard to qualify for major meets

RAISING THE BAR:  High jumping talent Cassie Purdon works on her technique (above) after receiving specialised assistance from coach Bailey Pashley (below) at his Karrabin training centre.


WORLD Junior Championships prospect Cassie Purdon is doing everything right.

She’s slim and training hard, wants to represent Australia in the United States next year and is only two centimetres away from qualifying.

She’ll also forego a lengthy break over Christmas to pursue her international dream.

As far as coach Bailey Pashley is concerned, the Lanefield-based high jumper has what it takes to make next year’s championships in Eugene, Oregon.

“She’s probably the best I’ve ever had a female jumper jump in practice,” Pashley said, having coached or taught for more than 50 years.

The quietly spoken Faith Lutheran College student needs to jump 1.82m to be eligible for the World Junior Championships in July.

She has jumped 1.80m, already qualifying for age and open nationals in March and April next year.

Those major meets give Purdon the opportunity to join two other talented jumpers who are also in line for the World Junior Games.

However, Pashley believes his teenage talent can also leap into contention for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Scotland.

Purdon, 17, cleared 1.80m on her first attempt at last weekend’s state relay championships.  It was a positive sign preparing for next year’s state and national titles.

“It was a good jump, that’s very promising,” the coach said.

“I feel that 1.82 or a little bit better is not far off for Cassie.”

As one of 14 regular athletes Pashley trains at his Karrabin centre, Purdon is thriving on specialised work with the level 5 coach.

Her training includes jumping sessions, lots of drills, approaches to the bar, take-offs and hopping over hurdles.

“She’s very good at strength work,” Pashley said.  “She’s very slim but strong.

“Apart from her natural ability, she seems to perform well after she does a lot of bouncing type drills so we do a lot of skipping in the air with sandbags on her shoulders and jumping on boxes.

“She’s jumping 1.78, 1.79 off the grass.

“Jumping those heights off the grass makes me think it’s not long before she’s going to really ping over a high one off a proper track.”

The pair make fortnightly visits to Brisbane to train on a tartan surface unavailable in Ipswich.

The Ipswich and District Athletics Club president is impressed promising athletes like Purdon like to keep training when other teenagers are taking it easy.

“I just give them a few days off over the peak period,” Pashley said.

“We will continue straight after Christmas and keep going through January.

“They don’t want to have a break.

“She (Purdon) is focused.”