Nine-year-old Gemma Buckle represented Collie admirably at a state-wide athletic competition in Perth.
Gemma travelled to the WA Athletics Stadium on Sunday, November 5 to take part in the Bravehearts Challenge, a competition open to budding athletes aged 10 years and under.
She claimed victory in three of the four events she competed in, dominating the field in the shotput and both the 70 metre and 100 metre sprints.
Gemma said she was excited to compete on the big stage but had to overcome her nerves.
“When I was about to do the 70m race, I got really nervous but when I won that, I thought I could win the 100m as well,” she said. “And I did.”
Along with her wins in the sprints, Gemma also claimed first place in the shotput with a whopping 6.27m throw, more than 20cm further than the closest competitor.
Gemma also competed in the long jump but unfortunately her favourite event, discus, was not held.
Gemma’s mother, Ute, said she was proud of her daughter’s achievements and that the competitions like the Bravehearts Challenge provide good motivation to succeed.
“I’m very proud of her, of course,” she said.
“Competitions like this are good. They make kids feel proud [of themselves] and it gives them something to train for.”
Gemma took up athletics at the Collie Little Athletics Club just over two years ago and has broken the centre records in almost every discipline in that time.
“This season has only been going for a couple of weeks and I got the record in hurdles. Last year, I got either eight or nine records,” Gemma said.
Along with her prowess on the track and field, Gemma also finds time to play basketball, hockey and netball.
Gemma said she plans to continue competing at as many events as possible in order to become more confident and comfortable competing at high levels, with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the state championships early next year.