Just over two years after starting to take long jump seriously, Montana Djatschenko has won a medal representing her country.
Having started at Melton City Little Athletics, the Bacchus Marsh resident decided to start participating in long jump in early 2017.
“I used to do triple jump as well and I was a state champion,” she said.
“I was getting injuries doing that, so I just thought I would try something new.
“2017 was the first time I participated at long jump at the state titles and I came away with the win. I was so surprised.”
That decision has paid off in spades.
Having won state titles the last three years, Djatschenko has had the opportunity to compete at the Australian titles on each occasion.
Having still done triple jump and the 100 and 200 metres, this time she focused more on long jump.
This year she finished fourth in the under-20 event at the nationals.
She jumped a personal best of 5.93 metres.
From there Djatschenko nominated to be selected for the Australian team for the Oceania Athletics Championships.
With only the top three from the nationals guaranteed selection, it was a wait and see game.
“You have to nominate yourself … I had to wait for an email.
“As they only have to take the top three, I was hoping one of them didn’t make it.
“There wasn’t much difference between us. I cried, I was so excited when I found out.”
Djatschenko, who now trains four times a week with Essendon Athletics, was thrilled at the opportunity to take that next step.
While she didn’t jump as far as she would have liked, it was still enough for a silver medal.
“I was happy that I got to represent Australia for the first time,” she said.
“I was coming third before the fourth jump. Once I jumped that one, I knew I was second.”
Djatschenko, who is in year 12 at Melton Christian Regional College, said she was so surprised with how well she had done in such a small period of time.
Having started athletics when she was five, she said she enjoyed being able to perform and the friends that she had made.
Having made her Australian debut, Djatschenko is hoping this is only the start of things to come.
“My aim is to get to the Olympics one day,” she said. “My main aim at the moment is to make the world under-20 championships.
“The aim is to get a qualifying time for that.
“My personal best is 5.93. The distance needed is 6.15 metres.”