Riddells Creek’s Jessie Andrew is hoping to put a mixed season behind her as she heads to Fiji looking for gold.

A torn hamstring derailed the young sprinters athletic season, but she still showed enough to be selected in the Australian team for the Oceania Melanesian regional championships next month.

She’s looking to defend her 200 metre title in the under-18s she won last year at the same event, while this year she’ll also compete in the 100 metres.

“It’s not every day you get to represent your country, it’s a privilege,” she said.

“I’m looking to defend my title in the 200 metres. The 100 metres isn’t my strongest event, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

Andrew was selected in the Australian team following her performances across the athletic season and at the national titles. She’s the first to admit that the season didn’t pan out how she wanted it to.

“They looked at the times I performed across the whole season and they think I’m in a position to medal in Fiji.

“At the national titles in March, my 200 metres was a little disappointing to be honest. I came fifth.

“My 200 metres wasn’t as strong this season, but it was still pretty good I guess.

“My 100 metres was strong, but as I tore my hamstring, so I didn’t run a lot of 100 metres. When I did though, I ran a personal best every time.

“The 100 metres [at the nationals] I came seventh which was pretty average.”

The trip to Fiji is the second time this year that Andrew has travelled overseas for her sport. She was part of Maribyrnong College’s team which travelled to the Simplot Games in America. Andrew competed in the 200 metres and was part of the 4 x 200 metre team which won gold. “I came fourth in the 200 metres which was a little disappointing,” she said.

“It was a strong field of girls in our age group. Most of the girls were 18, turning 19.

“I had just turned 17 so I was one of the youngest.

“It was a great experience in America where they have so many outstanding sprinters.”

The year 11 has her eyes set on making the Olympics in the future.

She’s well aware of the time and sacrifices needed to even have a chance to get that far.

Each day she travels from Riddells Creek to go to school and train at Maribyrnong College. On a good day it takes an hour and 15 minutes each way. “There’s a lot of hard work and commitment, but I’m willing to do what it takes.

“My coach [Darren Clark] is at Maribyrnong College. I go to school and train and get everything done and then I go home and I can relax.”