JAMES Woods and his mother, Andrea, had different ideas of success when they both competed in the 2018 Victorian Country Track and Field Championships in Ballarat over the Australia Day weekend.
James is an experienced athlete and went to the championships knowing he had a strong chance of walking away with a medal — while Andrea just wanted to make it through the weekend unscathed.
As it turned out, James did walk away with a medal — in fact, he walked away with five.
His 1.7m high jump earned him a gold medal, as did his 3.2m pole vault and his 10.8m shot put. The young gun also earned bronze medals in the 4x100m relay and for his throw of 30.17 in the Under 18 discus event.
These monumental efforts were enough to earn James the Stuart Hunter Memorial Shield for the best under 16 athlete at the championships.
“I’m really happy with how I went over the weekend. I just kept up my usual drills and training on Tuesdays in Bendigo and competing on the Saturdays,” James said.
“I went last year but I felt more confident pole vaulting this year because I had more experience, this time last year I’d only been competing in it for three months.”
While James was competing — so was Andrea. She had followed her son all around as he chased his athletics dreams and thought to herself, why didn’t she have a go at pole vaulting too.
“I figured I have to go over to Bendigo every week for James’ training so why not have a go,” Andrea said.
“It was my first competition ever and honestly I was just praying to get over the bar.”
Andrea managed to get over the bar and recorded the highest vault in her age group.
Andrea said competing helped her keep up with James and his athletics, and also gave her an understanding of the hard work he puts in.
“It also helps with the training so I can understand what the terminology means. But I have no time to think about what I’m doing or change anything – I just do it.
“It was disgustingly hot and James had to leave the pole vault event to run his 100m relay leg — then he came back and joined the pole vault at the height the rest of the competition was up to.
“I have a real appreciation for what James does now.”
James has some big plans and after a strong showing in Ballarat, the sky is the limit.
“Hopefully if all goes well I’ll head off to Sydney for the National Junior Track and Field Championships in March this year, for pole vault and possibly high jump,” he said.
“The ultimate dream would be the Olympics, but we’ll see.”
As for Andrea’s athletics plans, she kept it rather simple.
“Just keep supporting James.”