BORDER COMMONWEALTH GAMES ATHLETES: Jodi Elkington

LONG JUMP

 11.30PM SUNDAY

JODI Elkington is jumping at her chance for a medal at the Commonwealth Games — literally.

The 21-year-old, who competed in sprints at the London Paralympics and Delhi Commonwealth Games, has switched to the long jump for Glasgow.

It was one of the few “showcase” events on the program for people with a disability.

The 2013 Albury Young Sports Achiever of the year is hoping returning to one of her first true track and field loves will finally bring a medal.

In Delhi she finished fourth in the 100 metres.

In London it was sixth in the 400 metres and another fourth in the 4x100-metre relay.

Elkington finished her preparation with a training camp and competition at the Gold Coast last week, leaving with the team for Glasgow last Wednesday.

“The aim is a medal — top three is the goal,” she said.

“But you never know what is going to happen on the day.

“At the moment, what I’m jumping, I should be there — but once again it is fingers crossed.

“D-day is July 27, Sunday afternoon Glasgow time which is middle of the night here.

“After three rounds they’ll drop the field to eight and we get another three jumps after that.”

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a toddler, the former ­Wodonga Senior Secondary College ­student took up athletics in 2008 after being inspired watching the Beijing Paralympics.

Elkington said jumping had been part of her early career.

“I used to do the long jump between 2008 to 2010, before Delhi,” she said.

“In those days I did all the events but with the Games in India and then the world champs a couple of months later we decide to focus on the 400.

“After London I had six months off everything so when I came back to training the transition was pretty simple.

“At the same time the 400-metre training helped my stamina, and I carry that with me into these Games and the result of the focus on speed for long jump has resulted in my 100 metre time improving as well.

“But long jump is the new event and hopefully right up to Rio that will be my focus.”

Speed is part of the Elkington pedigree.

The former Wodonga South Primary student is a cousin to the youngest person to win the Stawell Gift, Jarrem Pearce. 

Elkington makes light of a full-time training schedule and the need it brings to live away from home.

“Only in the past couple of weeks, because there have been some competitions, we have started tapering off,” she said.

“This was our first week of very light sessions — a couple of technical jumps and light runs.

“Before that it was five days in the afternoon at the Sydney Olympic Park doing a couple of running sessions, a couple of gym sessions and a couple of technical jump sessions, as well as core and basic strength work, stretching and cardio — all those things that need to be done, the one per centers that could be the difference between a medal or not.

“These are the sacrifices you make to give this the best shot.

“I miss my family in Albury-Wodonga but know they are fully supportive of what I’m doing.”

The Commonwealth Games are just the start of a big couple of years for Elkington — setting her sights on the Paralympic World Championships next year, then the “big one” the Rio ­Paralympics in 2016.

BORDER COMMONWEALTH GAMES ATHLETE PROFILES:

- Tory Thomas (mountain biking)

- Belinda Hocking (swimming)

- Gaye Shale (shooting)

- Jodi Elkington (long jump)

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