Fear of heights fails deter high jumper

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Back in action . . . Jessica Lake (13) is preparing for another busy and exciting season with the Alexandra Athletics Club. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON
@alliedpress.co.nz

Alexandra teen Jessica Lake is aiming for Olympic glory.

The 13-year-old is particularly focused on, one day, doing New Zealand proud in the high jump arena as she embarks on another season with the Alexandra Athletics Club.

Jessica, who attends The Terrace School, will represent the club when she competes in the Inter-Club Ribbon Day at Dunedin’s Caledonian Ground on October 13.

She also has the Colgate Games in her sights – both North and South Island events.

Despite her fear of heights, Jessica loves competing in high jump more than anything else.

She cleared 1.47m during the Colgate Games in Timaru earlier this year, which secured her a silver medal and a personal best.

Among her other athletic fortes are long jump, sprints and hurdles.

She has also given pole vaulting a go, but is happy to leave that one to the experts.

“It’s not my thing,” she said.

“I’m scared of heights, but I don’t mind high jump.”

Jessica jokingly referred to her athletic style as being different, and backed up that claim by confirming she does everything on her right leg, but jumps on her left leg.

Her medal haul is proof her style is paying off, particularly for high jump, which she enjoys the most because she finds it more “interesting”.

“It’s just more tricky and not many New Zealanders go to the Olympics [for high jump],” she said.

“I want to say ‘I will go there and I will show you’.”

Jessica, who will move to Dunedin next year to attend Queen’s High School, plans to make the most of her opportunities with the Alexandra Athletics Club while she still can.

Jessica will take part in the Molyneux Children’s Athletics Club training sessions when they return on Monday nights at 5.45pm from October 15.

The programme allows participants to have a go at the various disciplines.

More youngsters are encouraged to take part in the eight-week programme, along with their parents, who are needed for time-keeping and measuring duties.

Jessica’s mum, Tina Lake, said parent help was always needed.

“It’s actually a lot of fun [and] you are doing it with your kids.”

This year marks the end of that milestone for Jessica and her mum as the youngster prepares to move to Dunedin where her coach, Dave McNeil, is also based.