15-year-old Ipswich athlete Rochelle Vidler is setting records against older competitors.
AS Australia’s top ranked under-18 hammer thrower, Rochelle Vidler is already making an impact.
Remarkably, she’s yet to turn 16.
The Ipswich and District Athletic Club thrower is about to finish year 10 at Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School as she prepares for the next exciting chapter in her sporting development.
Fresh from winning Brothers’ latest Junior sportstar award, Rochelle is already thinking about next year’s world youth championships.
But far from promoting her wonderful achievements, she’d rather thank the people helping her most.
Club coach Mick Moore and supportive mum Anne are two of the leading figures giving the promising Ipswich teenager the guidance she needs.
“He’s great. He’s so supportive and he believes in me,” Rochelle said of her coach of nearly five years.
“He sets goals and that’s great because I need time to set goals. He’s been great throughout the years.”
Anne has been a tower of support.
“Mum has been amazing help for me, so supportive and doing everything for me,” quietly spoken Rochelle said.
“I can’t thank her enough.”
Rochelle, who turns 16 next year, has also worked with Paralympian Claire Keefer, another Ipswich and District Athletic Club thrower.
Keefer won bronze in discus at the recent Rio Paralympics.
“She’s one of my best friends at training. She’s great,” Rochelle said.
“She’s done amazing. I’m so proud of her.”
Over the past year, Redbank Plains-based Rochelle has set a number of state and meet records in her favourite event, the hammer throw. That includes impressing at the Australian Junior Championships in March, the Down Under meet in July and at the Queensland Secondary State Championships last month.
She threw a personal best of 60.41m at the Queensland Secondary State championships. Her performance was a Queensland meet and state under-18 and under-16 record.
“It’s a great achievement to get all that at such a young age,” she said.
“I’ve been holding the under-16 record a while but it’s good to just improve as I go.”
Representing Met West at the state titles last December, she threw 53m.
She’s now striving for 60m plus distances.
“Seven metres in a year is pretty good,” she said.
“From probably March, I’ve gained five metres.”
Her best performances have been in the hammer throw, which she hopes to concentrate on.
“Hammer’s my main goal lately because I can move on next year for world youth in June/July,” she said.
“I don’t do shot any more but when I can do discus I will, just to maintain that.”
She hopes to qualify for next year’s world youth championships when she contests the Australian titles in March.
“I still compete up in under 18s when I go to nationals,” she said.
“I’ll be in Sydney when I turn 16 (in March).”
But while her focus is squarely on athletics, Rochelle still enjoys playing striker and “sometimes defence” with St Catherine’s in the church soccer competition.
“I do that just for a bit of fun,” she said. “Just to get my mind off everything else.”
Looking superbly fit, Rochelle is keep to continue her athletics training over the summer break.
“It’s really good. The training is good,” she said.
“I’ll be training all the way until nationals.
“I might have a little break but just keep working.
“I’ve been working on my strength.”
Before the national club titles in March, Rochelle will contest the next Queensland Secondary Schools competition in Canberra.
Great training makes difference
RISING athlete Rochelle Vidler answers confidently when asked why she enjoys hammer throwing.
“It helps with getting far but it’s the atmosphere in comps and I just like it,” she said.
“Training is great. When I throw a real good one, it makes me so happy and excited.”
Aged 15, Rochelle regularly competes against throwers three or four years older.
But with support from her coach Mick Moore, she enjoys the challenge. “I think my coach is just the main part of why I’m still doing it,” she said.
She said her favourite part of training is “talking to Mick about how I can improve and what he sees as the next step and all that so I can improve in my throwing.”
The pair are plotting a path to next year’s IAAF World Under 18 championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
Longer term, Rochelle wants to make an Australian Olympic team.
However, she’s cautious about expecting too much for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“I think I might be too young. I’d be only 18,” she said.
“But world juniors I can get to. I have two shots at that.”