World event countdown for sprinter
By Tim Braban
25th August 2011
TOOWOOMBA sprinter Charlotte van Veenendaal is only two sleeps away from the biggest athletics meet of her life.
On Saturday, van Veenendaal will enter the Daegu Stadium in South Korea alongside some of the biggest names in world sport, including Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Steve Hooker, for the opening ceremony of the IAAF World Championships.
For van Veenendaal, this is the realisation of a childhood dream and vindication of her decision to move from Sydney to Toowoomba to link with coach Gerrard Keating 16 months ago.
The 23-year-old has been in South Korea for the past three weeks, acclimatising and training with the Australian 4x100 metre relay team.
While the championships start on Saturday, the blue-ribbon sprint relays are not being held until the final night of the meet, meaning van Veenendaal faces an anxious nine-day wait before she can perform on the track.
Keating believes this will play into his charge’s hands, allowing her to really soak up the atmosphere of her first major international meet.
“She’s loving it, she’s really thriving and I knew she would,” Keating said.
But more importantly, the 4x100m team of van Veenendaal, Melissa Breen, Laura Whaler and Sally Pearson is thriving under the direction of Pearson’s coach Sharon Hannan.
“From what Charlotte is saying, the team is really gelling and I think they’re capable of achieving big things,” Keating said.