A year on from the event that thrust the Gold Coast onto the world stage, We Are Gold Coast meets three young local athletes who were inspired by the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018). Our legacy lives on.
The pure enthusiasm in Ellie Beer’s face is delightful. At 16 years old, the Palm Beach middle distance runner is the reigning 200m and 400m national champion in her age group, and her ambitions are already as clear as a Gold Coast day.
“I’m working towards qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the World Junior Athletic Championships in Kenya and the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” she said.
Ellie began running in Little Athletics at age seven, and her talent quickly became obvious with her success in the beach sprints and flags as a nipper for the Currumbin Vikings. She trains three afternoons a week at the track at Somerset College, a popular training ground for southern Gold Coast residents.
Last year, Ellie gained seventh place in the 400m final at the Australian Athletics Open Championships.
Ellie’s coach, Brett Robinson, said if she continued on in her current form, her chances of qualifying for Tokyo 2020 were excellent.
“I’m hopeful of Ellie getting a spot in the relay in the 400 metres if she keeps working consistently, the way she has been,” Brett said.
A baton bearer at the Opening Ceremony, Ellie said it was an “absolute privilege” to be a part of it.
“I got to run alongside Kurt Fearnley, who was the most approachable, nicest person ever. To be on the stadium ground alongside athletes from all around the world was incredible.
“The Games really inspired me to push my limits – to get out there, to run fast, and just do it. I want to inspire future generations coming through by motivating them to never give up, to train hard and just love the sport they’re doing.
“As a young, upcoming athlete living on the Gold Coast, I feel privileged to have access to my training venues and other great sports facilities here and that’s what I think the legacy of the Games is.”
Rising hockey star, Will Mathison,16, landed himself a place in the Australian schoolboys squad last year and will travel to Amsterdam in May to compete in The 4 Nations Whitsun Tournament.
Will, who moved to the Gold Coast from Gladstone four years ago, said the redevelopment of the Gold Coast Hockey Centre had been a “massive improvement” for the sport.
This $14.5million upgrade ensured the centre catered for elite training and competitions, as well as for community use. It included new international competition standard hockey pitches and the doubling in size of the clubhouse.
“When I watched the hockey matches during the Commonwealth Games I was really surprised at the number of spectators. I think a lot of people didn’t realise how entertaining a game it is,” Will said.
“I love the culture of the sport and it’s given me some best mates.”
Maddy Power is fresh into the sport of weightlifting and less than two years in, is showing serious promise and motivation to match.
At 15, she is Australia’s top ranking female youth lifter and has already broken state and national records. She recently returned from the World Youth Championships in Las Vegas, where she succeeded in four out of six lifts and placed 10th overall. Next stop is the Pacific Games in July.
Training five hours a week at the Burleigh Barbell Club, Maddy’s high performance development plan has her working towards qualifying for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“I think if I stick to my training and nutrition regime there will be a real possibility of getting there,” Maddy said. “I always give 100 per cent in my training sessions.”
For Maddy, the most inspiring moment of the Gold Coast was seeing Tia-Clair Toomey win gold in the clean and jerk.
“The crowd went wild, it was just amazing and there was so much support for her,” she recalled. “I went to three sessions of the weightlifting and the atmosphere and support for the athletes at every session was fantastic.”
Staying motivated is easy for Maddy. “The sport comes naturally to me so I always feel motivated. Living and training on the Gold Coast is good. It’s such a great city.”