February 16, 2016
Athlete Blog

Steph's Olympic Dreams

The latest update about OVA athlete Steph Stigwood as she continues to progress towards her goal - of making the Rio Olympic Games.

Having overcome the first hurdle of achieving an Olympic qualifier, it ultimately comes down to this weekend (Sunday* 21st) and the discretion of the Australian selectors to see if OVA athlete Steph Stigwood can book a spot on the plane to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games - what an achievement!

Having moved to Canberra a few years ago to fully pursue her passion and goals, along side partner and coach (and loyal OVA member) Daniel Coleman, Steph has raced 7 times in the past 12 months – seeing a reduction in her personal best time by some 6 minutes in total.

Steph proudly represented OVA, her state and country at the World University Games in 2015, where she finished 14th in 1:42.05 in blistering conditions. However, it was her last walk that was her finest – a 2nd place at Fawkner Park in mid December in a huge PB of 1:32.33 -  that really catapulted her into serious Olympic contention. That time and amazing walk ranked her 2nd on the rankings list for the games.  

Steph started race walking at the age of 6, originally from South Australia, where she continued to improve and develop as a promising junior athlete and was the U16 gold medallist at Australian Juniors. In 2009, Steph and Daniel moved from Canberra (where Daniel was training at the AIS) to Hobart, in order to study and train and rekindle a love for the race walking discipline. After the decision to turn to coaching after being hampered by ongoing injuries, Daniel became Steph’s full time coach – to assist her achieve her race walking goals.

This weekends 20km Championship event in Adelaide shapes up to be a crucial event for Steph, as there are around five women with Olympic qualifiers vying for one automatic spot, and two additional births at selector discretion.  Whilst the whole Tasmanian athletics community will be showing their support for Steph, her achievements over the past few years are a testament to her character and the support of her coach, family, friends and of course, her beloved OVA Southern Saints.

We wish Steph the best of luck at this weekends event, and she knows that we are proud of what she has been able to achieve and the amazing person she has become.  

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