Green and Gold Honours for Young Star
It was a bittersweet trip of a lifetime for Narangba athlete Tamara Hotten recently.
The sprinter travelled to Finland as part of the Australian squad for the 16th IAAF World Under 20 Championships, with rising stars from over 160 countries battling it out for international honours.
Hotten finished fourth in the 100m at the junior National Championships in March, but still had to prove herself to be guaranteed a spot on the starting relay team for Finland.
“A girl that didn’t run at the nationals had a faster time than me, but I managed to move from fifth ranked to fourth at the pre-departure meet in Townsville and secure my spot on the team,” she said.
“Qualifying for the World Champs was probably the hardest yet most rewarding few months of my life. I was doing three track sessions, two gym sessions and a competition every week.”
Touching down in Finland after 30 hours of travelling (her first overseas trip), the jetlag quickly wore off and Hotten was straight into training. On her third day in the country, she was in the middle of a relay session when disaster struck.
“I’d never felt quicker, but just as I was reaching top speed I started to tighten up then felt a tennis ball like pop in my hamstring, which turned out to be a grade two hamstring tear, ending my campaign before it even started,” she said.
“It was hard to come to terms with, and seeing my team out on the track in Australian colours running a race on the world state that I could’ve been in was a tough experience.
“The sadness and disappointment though has given me more motivation than I’ve had before to prevent anything like that happening again.”
Hotten’s love for athletics started as a five-year-old, running along the sidelines as her sister competed, before joining Little Athletics herself and soon developing a passion for sprinting.
By the age of 10 she was training several days a week, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“As a junior I made a few Queensland Championships but often came last or second last, but my breakthrough year came in 2015 when I finished in the top three for 100m and 200m and won the 90m hurdles at the state titles,” she said.
“I continued to improve over the years, and although I didn’t make the podium at this year’s National Championships, it was my best performance yet.”
The 18-year-old ran 11.87 in the 100m final, 23.87 in the 200m and 13.97 in the 100m hurdles, recording personal best times in all three events.
“Training for sprinting is hard work, but reaping the reward for that in a race and feeling the adrenalin of running is a feeling I can’t get enough of,” she said.
“Since I realised I had the potential to do so, there was nothing more I wanted to do than to make an Australian team, so this experience was definitely the highlight of my career so far.
“I want to thank my coach, Gary Patterson, who has pushed me to achieve my goals.”
Hotten has called Narangba home since she was five, attending Narangba Valley State School and Narangba Valley State High School.
Studying a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University, she plans to one day work in the police force, but in the meantime will continue to focus on achieving her athletics dream.
“I still plan to keep training and competing full time for a while as my ultimate goal is to make the Commonwealth and Olympic Games,” she said.
“Hopefully my hammy will be back to 100 per cent within three months, and from there I’ll go back to training six days a week in order to achieve my next big goal of making the 2019 World Uni Games in Italy.”