Commitment is the key to success, says Annalies Kalma, who last month smashed the North Island Secondary School athletics record for the under 16 400m sprint, running it in 54.69 seconds.
She is now ranked higher than some of New Zealand’s best female runners at the same age, including Olympic and Commonwealth Games athletes.
At the same event she set a personal best of 24.86 seconds in the 200m sprint, bettering her 25.26-second sprint in the 200m final of the Waikato Bay of Plenty champs held a few weeks prior. That 200m run defeated a 19-year old record held by elite runner Monique Williams.
“I surprised myself a lot and I was pretty excited when I heard about it, it was a really cool moment for me and my coach Ange,” she said.
“Breaking Monique Williams’ record at the same age is a huge achievement for Annalies,” said coach Ange Russek. “It’s even more impressive given that we had been training more specifically for the 400m.”
Annalies said one of the keys to her success was having supportive people around her, like Ange and her parents. “They help you more than you think in a lot of different ways, Ange always pushes me to get better and knows what’s best for me,” she said.
“I think another key is to be committed and keep going even if you’re doubting yourself, you just need to keep working hard to get better and it’ll pay off in the end.”
Annalies is aiming to qualify for next year’s IAAF World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya and eventually hopes to secure a scholarship to an overseas university for athletics, something she’s surely on the right track to achieve.
“She has the potential in track and field to be one of New Zealand’s top 400/200m runners,” said Russek. “The sky is the limit for Annalies with her running. Representing New Zealand again at an under-20 world level is a realistic goal and after that, many pathways will open.”