Three years after basically stumbling across pole vault, Nick Masini is on the verge of representing Australia at international competition.
The Western Athletics young gun had never seriously considered a career in pole vault, but a chance competition got him hooked on the event.
“One weekend, my team needed points to make it to the finals and we didn’t have anybody to compete in the pole vault,” Masini said.
“I just decided to learn it for that and then I really enjoyed it, so I kept on going.
“I didn’t expect anything out of it, I was hoping for the basics and to learn something new, but after a few sessions and one of the competitions, the coach said you’ve qualified for nationals.”
Masini is so strong in the event that he now dreams of pulling on the green and gold at the Olympic Games.
The 18-year-old has more immediate duties to take care of though, heading to the IAAF Oceania Melanesian Regional Athletics Championships to take on the best vaulters in the region.
Masini leaves for Suva, Fiji, on June 24, for his first time representing Australia.
It will be his second time in overseas competition, having been part of a Maribyrnong College contingent that was invited to the Simplot Games in the US.
“It’s really exciting – I’m really keen to get there,” Masini said. “I’m hoping to get experience competing for Australia most of all and see how I go in overseas competition.
“I’m hoping to clear a bar and get a PB if possible.”
Masini’s best result in pole vault came in the national championships.
The Seabrook resident finished just outside the medals in fourth, but it validated the belief in him by Warren Hill, a specialist pole vault coach based at Melbourne University.
“He’s basically built me from the ground up,” Masini said.
Masini, who idolises Australian pole vaulter Steve Hooker and former Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan, will be taking a bit of a trip to the unknown when he lands in Suva.
He knows next to nothing about his competitors, he will be relying on a pole that is provided by organisers and has little knowledge of the track conditions he will face.
What Masini does know is how lucky he is to be representing his country.
“It’s going to be an enormous honour for me, being my first time in the green and gold.”