An Albury athlete has overcome a horror broken leg to feature in javelin at the Victorian State Championships.
Trinity Anglican College student Isabella Slabbert suffered the injury while long jumping in June last year.
The teenager had a non displaced fibula fracture and tears in the lateral and medial meniscus, among other issues.
"It was a very hard moment in my life, I found it very hard to sit and watch people do their own sport," the now 15-year-old said.
"Every now and then I would feel very sorry for myself and I would have moments that I would completely feel I couldn't do it anymore, I just wanted to give up and just do sport and not go into rehabilitation."
But despite the natural disappointment, the teenager refused to give up and launched herself into rehabilitation.
"Isabella stuck exactly to what she needed to do, when the physio said, 'no, you can't run yet', she didn't run," coach Greg Simpson said.
"Because she did her rehab properly, the mental side wasn't as big an issue."
Border Sports and Fitness Centre's athletic development coordinator Tim Madden says it showed tremendous wisdom.
"That's where Isabella was probably a little bit different in that she was really patient, she understood her body and made sure she ticked all the boxes, not just, 'OK, I've ticked 75 per cent of them, now let me loose'. It's maturity way beyond her years, in that sense," he said.
And the youngster admits she had to maintain a positive attitude.
"Yes, definitely, when I broke my leg, it was a lot to process, but I also realised that I have done the right rehabilitation and I'm able to do absolutely everything I was able to do before I broke my leg," she said.
The year nine student returned for the Victorian Country Championships in Geelong on Australia Day, claiming gold at under 16 level, and followed that with a runner-up finish at the State titles in March, hurling the javelin just under 35m.
Unfortunately, like so many aspects of life, COVID-19 meant the track athlete didn't have the chance to attend the nationals.
But it's allowed more time for development.
"I will definitely work on the run-up, with the injury I've only been doing the two-step run-up," she said.
Her devotion to the sport means the relative newcomer to javelin will make the six-hour round trip to Kilmore where Simpson moved after years on the Border.
"Isabella's prepared to do the little things, when we say we're not going to go with a full run-up until later in the year, she accepts that," he said.
"She's prepared to play the long game and not have the 'I want a result today' attitude."
So what attracted the one-time long jumper to the field event?
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"Greg introduced me to javelin and from that moment on, I found it mesmerising watching the javelin go through the air," she said.
"Greg's a very good coach, he makes everything fun and if he gives you criticism, it's good criticism so you learn."