Hurdler aims high

Griffith student Eliana Seymour and Sally Pearson at the national athletics championships in Melbourne.

Athlete, student, mother of two and Griffith staff member Eliana Seymour wears many hats.

But one of the highlights of her hurdling career was competing in the lane next to ​Olympic champion Sally Pearson in the 100m hurdles at the national championships in Melbourne on April 6.

“I was running ri​ght next to her. It was so exciting,’’ said Eliana, who came ninth overall.

“Sally is such an inspiration and role model to me because she shows it is possible to beat the Americans who are traditionally faster.”

Eliana knows first-hand just how fast. As a teenager living in Hungary, she won a sports scholarship to the University of Albany, New York where she was  competing against a cohort of stronger and faster athletes.

“It was a great experience and challenged me to do the best that I could,’’ she recalled.

“I know that my passion for hurdling is a God-given talent in my life, and when I run it’s a gift from him.”

​Eliana began competing nationally at age 14, encouraged by her mother, a former champion long-jumper, who narrowly missed out on a place in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

After two y​ears study in the US Eliana came to Australia on exchange in 2005 where she completed an undergraduate degree in business. Now studying a Master of Marketing with the Griffith Business School, she works as a school administration officer at the School of Environment.

Along the way came marriage and two children, interrupting her athletic pursuits, albeit briefly.

“It was difficult to get back into shape after having babies but I was determined and focused,’’ she said.

Eliana currently trains five times a week with the goal of making it to the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

“At 30, some people have asked me why I’m still pursuing my sporting goals but I believe I still have so much potential.”

In March Eliana broke the QE2 club record in the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.02, the same time as fellow Griffith Sports College hurdler Taneille Crase who won the state championships.

Both have been selected into the QLD track and field elite squad, A-Squad, so they’re ones to watch.