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Meriden athletes join high-performance squad

Nakeisha Brimble

Four of Meriden’s champion athletes have been invited to join Athletics New South Wales’ Target Talent Program, a high-performance squad that provides development opportunities to elite junior athletes. Nakeisha Brimble, Karina Bell, Ada Rand and Alexandra Richards impressed selectors by performing at the top of their age divisions on the track and field.

Nakeisha, Year 11 student and Athletics Captain, was selected for the squad after achieving the 2021 Athletics NSW Matrix Performance Standards, which included attaining the qualifying Triple Jump distance of 12.06 metres.

“It means a lot to be selected for the squad and is recognition of the work we put into training this year,” Nakeisha said.

Prior to the state’s lockdown, the four girls, accompanied by Head Coach Athletics, Mrs Nicole Boegman-Stewart, attended the first of two development camps in the Target Talent Program.

Over a two-day period, attendees from across the state had the opportunity to meet, and be inspired by, elite Australian athletes. The girls also took part in drills and workshops, including sessions on nutrition, strength and conditioning, recovery and load management.

Nakeisha, who is currently recovering from a hamstring injury, said learning about load management, a strategy used by professional athletes to enhance performance and lower the risk of injury, has been most helpful to her.

“I’m looking to develop my ability to be in sync with my body so I know how to make the right decisions about when to go to the physiotherapist or when to rest if I start to overload with training. I think knowing yourself is a key attribute for an athlete and we need to be able to listen to our bodies to avoid injury and to maintain our mental health,” Nakeisha said.

Nakeisha, Karina, Ada and Alexandra are due to attend the second Target Talent Program development camp next month. For now, Coach Nicole is ensuring the athletes put into practice the skills learnt through their first camp and through the Meriden Athletics program’s virtual fitness and endurance sessions.

“I have been so proud to see the girls continue to turn up and challenge themselves during their virtual training sessions,” Coach Nicole said.

“They are committed to doing their best and maintaining their fitness, despite not knowing when they will be able to compete again. Once restrictions are eased, I am confident the girls will be in top form for competitions.”

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