Setting her own bar high

Round and round . . . Dunedin athlete Zharna Beattie will compete in discus and shot put events in the New Zealand secondary schools track and field championships. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The New Zealand Secondary School Athletics Association track and field championships will be held in Dunedin this month. In the lead-up, The Star is profiling Dunedin athletes entered in the competition.

A Dunedin athlete is aiming for a top-three finish when she lines up at the Caledonian later this month.

Zharna Beattie will compete in the under-18 discus and shot put.

The 16-year-old has been competing for six years and is a silver and bronze medallist in discus and shot put.

Track and field was a great way to stay fit and active and meet people from throughout New Zealand, she said.

“I believe it is a sport that you get out what you personally put in.

“I also like that at secondary school level you get to travel all around the country.”

Her pre-meet rituals involved getting up early and eating a good breakfast.

“I also like to have a really good warm-up and do a couple of practice throws before my events.”

Her favourite athletics session was when she incorporated three competition throws at the end of each training.

“My toughest rival is mostly myself, because I set myself high standards.”

Zharna is coached by Raylene Bates and she credited her for helping her succeed.

Bates was a “great influence”, and the athlete admired her coach’s drive and passion for the sport.

“I enjoy her energy she brings to training and the fact that we can share a good laugh,” she said.

“I am very lucky to have her as a coach, as I know how busy she is.

“Mum and Dad have also been very supportive and have given up at lot of time to help me attend trainings and competition.”