Year 11 Mullumbimby High School student, Tiani Hogan, is balancing study and friends while also being Australia’s number one under 18s javelin thrower.
And despite COVID-19 restrictions, she’s only just getting started. Tiani grew up playing competition tennis and softball.
‘Throwing javelin has a similar action to a tennis serve. I have a very fast arm, which seems to have put me in good stead with my throw!’ explains Tiani.
Learning to throw the javelin started out simply. Her father, Scott, recalls with a laugh, ‘She started training for javelin up and down the driveway with a broomstick’.
Things have moved on since then, and she is now coached by Brett Green, one of Australia’s best throw coaches. In March this year, Tiani threw a javelin personal best 48.56m and competed at the National Athletic Championships in Sydney in April, coming second overall, ranking first in Australia, and tenth in the world in her age category.
‘I went in with high expectations. Gaining a world ranking was pretty cool’, she says. Not only is she neat at throwing a javelin, Tiani is also a top ranked heptathlete. She is coached in heptathlon by Phillip Newton, who also trains PNG national champion and recent Tokyo Olympian, Rellie Kaputin. But COVID-19 restrictions and border closures have made that difficult over the last twelve months. ‘I haven’t been able to get to training for most of the year’, says Tiani.
Instead, Tiani has trained solo at nearby Stan Thompson oval. And, whenever she has needed to borrow equipment for training, Mullumbimby High School has always been willing to lend a hand.
‘It is amazing for everyone in our school to see Tiani’s hard work and dedication paying off and see her gaining success on the national level’, says sports organiser, Max Binkley.
With the border restrictions easing soon, Tiani can compete again. Her next big event is in the heptathlon championships on December 18, and she will compete in javelin at the Queensland State Championships in early 2022.
‘I’m aiming for a sports scholarship for university. I’m a competitive person. I do get pretty mad at myself if I don’t win’.
And as for the Olympics in Brisbane in 2032? ‘I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics. I’ve got lots of time to get stronger and better!’ she says with a smile.
Richard Bradbury is from Mullum High P&C