It has been a landmark year in the career of heptathlete Celeste Mucci.
The 19-year-old from Altona took enormous steps towards her dream of competing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
She represented the Australian open age team for the first time at a major event, competing in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and was one of the standouts on the Australian team at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Finland.
Mucci is delighted to see her hard work pay off. “The goal is always to get better and better,” she said. “To see the improvement coming along during the season, it makes me want to keep going and keep improving.
“I’m happy with how I’m going at the moment.”
Mucci’s effort to get a gig to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games is her proudest moment so far.
The Williamstown Athletics Club representative will never forget the thrill of competing at a home games.
More importantly, the rookie was not out of place, only just missing out on a medal.
She recorded a personal best score of 5915 to finish fourth.
“A home games doesn’t come around that often,” Mucci said. “There was a lot of pressure at trials, but I managed to pull through and come first to get the automatic spot.
“To compete at Gold Coast was great.
“It was really well organised and the crowd was just amazing.
“It was one of my favourite competitions so far.”
The best of the best heptathletes in Mucci’s age group converged on Tampere in Finland for the under 20 world championships.
Two years ago, Mucci finished a creditable 17th, but she had improved vastly since then because of her extra training, experience in competitions and natural progression.
Her fifth-placed finish at this year’s event was in line with her upwards career trajectory.
“To come away with fifth was great,” Mucci said. “It was such a good improvement from two years ago.
“It shows how far I’ve come, so I was really happy with that.”
Mucci also demonstrated her leadership skills. The Altona Little Athletics Centre product was co-captain of the Australian team and wore the honour with pride.
“I’ve always been one of the youngest in the team coming up, but now I was top age,” Mucci said. Mucci has enjoyed a well earned break and is beginning preparations with coach Darren Clark for a big summer season.
Her aim is to continue improving across all seven events that make up the heptathlon in order to deliver consistently stronger overall points scores.
While a heptathlete does not peak until their mid to late 20s, Mucci will leave no stone unturned in her quest to feature for Australia at the 2020 Olympics.
“Next year is set up so I’ll be in really good form for 2020 trials,” she said.
“That’s been a goal for such a long time and we’re planning towards that.”
Mucci is the September nominee for the Don Deeble Rising Star award.
The award, hosted by the Sunshine Western Region Sports Club and
Star Weekly, recognises young athletes from the western suburbs who have achieved outstanding results at state and/or national levels.
Mucci will receive $1000, donated by the Yarraville Club Cricket Club, and other prizes to assist her in achieving her sporting goals.