Heptathlon's rising star
Born competitor Natasha Eady got involved with athletics when she was just 4 years old.
The 16-year-old St Cuthbert's College student has just been named as a silver level member of the Athletics NZ Performance Potential Squad for heptathlon.
"Now I can picture myself wearing the silver fern, it's no longer a distant goal, it's real and it's here," Natasha says.
"I've worked hard for it, but the real hard work is only just beginning."
Competing in heptathlon means Natasha has to train in seven disciplines: 100m hurdles, high jump, long jump, 200m sprint, javelin, shot put and 800m run.
"I love doing a variety of events, it makes training a bit harder but it's always interesting, it's never boring," she says.
Long jump is her favourite event. She finds hurdles the most challenging.
"I've fallen a few times during the hurdles. It's hard when you have to get up and finish the race but it's those moments that really test your mental strength and that's what it is all about."
The Eden Terrace resident has recently had her first taste of international success at the West Coast Relays in California winning the elite section of the invitational long jump and placing second in the 100m sprint.
She also competed at the Arcadia Invitational Multis, known as the biggest stage for high school athletes in the United States, where she placed 10th and set a new personal best.
"The seriousness was so much more intense in the US compared to New Zealand, which was a real wake-up call," Natasha says.
"I came back thinking I have to take this more seriously and I know now that this is what I want to do."
Natasha has also excelled in New Zealand competitions this season.
She won three medals at the Greater Auckland Champs as well as second place at the National Combined Events Champs.
Watching her older sister compete in athletics made Natasha want to get involved.
"As a younger child you always want to beat your older siblings.
"I slowly started getting a lot better at athletics and it's such a rush to beat your sister."
Rather than looking to professional athletes Natasha finds it is her competitors that inspire her most.
"They motivate me to work harder, if people are close to me in ability it makes me push myself further."
Her coach Kieran McKee has been crucial in developing her abilities.
"Kieran inspires me every day. This year is our 10-year anniversary as a team, he is an amazing person."
The recent selection in the Performance Potential Squad has seen Natasha increase her training schedule to 20 hours a week.
She plans on focusing on training over the winter so she is in top condition for the New Zealand Secondary Schools' Championship in December.
- Central Leader
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