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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Charlotte van Veenendaal in sight of her dream

Charlotte van Veenendaal in sight of her dream

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Charlotte van Veenendaal returns to national
competition tomorrow night.

Track star facing big challenge
By Tim Braban
Toowoomba Chronicle
14th April 2011

It was a big call for Charlotte van Veenendaal to uproot from Sydney, her childhood home, 12 months ago and move to Toowoomba to chase her Olympic dream.

But on the eve of the biggest athletics meet of her career, van Veenendaal knows it has all been worth it.

The 22-year-old travels to Melbourne today for the Australian Athletics Championships and the chance to cement her place as one of Australia’s premier sprinters.

Standing in her way is the biggest name in Australian athletics – Sally Pearson.

Van Veenendaal’s coach Gerrard Keating expects Pearson to win both the 100m and 200m sprints, but he also expects his charge to challenge for the medals.

“We’re looking for a top-three finish in both events. Anything better than that is a bonus,” Keating said.

Van Veenendaal has only competed at the national championships once before in 2009 when she was coming back from persistent foot injuries.

Those injuries prevented her from running at her best and cut season 2010 short.

But van Veenendaal has had a full preparation leading into this year’s nationals and has bettered her personal best times in both the 100m and 200m events in the last month, meaning she is full of confidence.

“I’ve already reached most of my goals for this season,” van Veenendaal said. “It’s never easy changing coaches so to match my PB in the 100 and break it in the 200 was great.”

Apart from Pearson, van Veenendaal’s biggest challenges will come from her potential team-mates in the Australian 4x100m relay team, last year’s national 100m champion Mel Breen and Laura Whaler.

“She’s raced and raced well against those girls this season, but it all comes down to how they perform at nationals,” Keating said.

Van Veenendaal’s meet starts with the heats of the 100m event tomorrow night. The semi-finals and final of the 100m occur on Saturday and the 200m event runs over Sunday.

“If she can get in the final, anyone can win it ... nothing is certain,” Keating said.

And regardless of the results from the weekend, van Veenendaal is positive about her progress since linking with Keating a year ago.

“But I feel like I have a lot of improvement left in me,” van Veenendaal said.

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