Griffith racewalker all set for World Athletics championships

Katie Hayward training in Cairns. Image: Michael Angus, Athletics Australia

Nineteen-year-old Griffith Occupational Therapy student and the country’s best racewalker Katie Hayward has been sweating it out in Cairns at a pre-development camp ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, starting later this week.

Half the Australian squad for the championships have trained in Cairns alongside Katie, with the other half (including Griffith Business student and 2016 Rio Olympics discus thrower Matt Denny) opting to travel to Italy. Both locations offer conditions similar to Doha.

Katie Hayward flies out on Wednesday, all set to compete in the 20km race four days later.

Katie and her coach Steve Langley in Cairns. He’ll accompany her to Doha.

“I’m feeling the fittest I have ever been. Really good physically and mentally,” she said from the camp in Cairns.

“Doha is going to be very warm. My race is at 11.30 at night for that reason. It will be mid to high 30’s during the night but during the day, high 40’s!”

“I’ve been doing some training at night… so 9pm training and also been training in the heat chamber twice a week at Griffith.”

She’s expecting to do well in Doha and set herself up for Olympic qualifying. Selections are in February but barring injury, its looks likely.

After Doha she might look to take a short break.

“I’ve been training full on for 18 months.After Doha I’m going to have a mini break and then from there progress my Tokyo preparations…..”

She went part-time in her studies this year and will continue to do so next year. Griffith Sports College and the course convenors helped to arrange this so she could manage her busy training and competition schedule.

“Next year I’ll be looking to finish off my second year courses and starting my third year in 2021.“

“I have done placement this semester and I enjoy it. I love OT. It gives me another direction in my life. It means I’m not always thinking about walking but other things.”