Hammering the competition
IT'S not the most common sport chosen by a young girl, but Jessica Roche is no ordinary preteen, and hammer throw is her choice.
The Evans River K-12 Year 8 student has only been hammer throwing since the beginning of this year, but she is already making a name for herself.
Her coach, Jennie Duffield said she had been training Jess in discus and shotput when the 14-year-old had seen the hammer throw competition at the Down Under Athletics Championships on the Gold Coast.
"From then on she wanted to do the hammer throw,” Ms Duffield said.
"I had to get a trainer in to show both of us the basics.”
"It paid off as she came 4th in the hammer throw at this year's Down Under Championships, the first time she'd ever competed.”
Jess uses a golf club to warm up before she starts throwing the hammer across the field at Ballina Heights where she trains each week.
"I wanted to do the hammer throw because it's different and no-one else was doing it (locally),” Jess said.
"I was really excited to come 4th because I thought I would come last.”
Going to athletic meets is an expensive affair and Jess' mum Kylie said the recent event they went to cost $1000, not including food.
"Jess would like to go to the Cathy Freeman meet in Brisbane (this month) which will cost about $500,” Ms Roche, a single mum, said.
"She recently bought some leather gloves for the hammer throw out of her own pocket money, so I know she is serious.”
To help Jess on her hammer throwing quest, you can get in touch with the paper, and we will connect you with Jess and Kylie.