High Medal Hopes Hammer Thrower is no Amateur

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Indian summer: Junior hammer thrower Ashleigh Mumberson is heading to India to compete in this year's Commonwealth Youth Games.

BY SEAN CUNNINGHAM 1/10/2008

ASHLEIGH Mumberson will fly out of Australia for the first time next week. Ashleigh who's 18 and lives in Bradbury is off to Pune in India to compete in the Commonwealth Youth Games from October 14.

Number one in Australia last year in her age group, this Campbelltown UWS Collegians Athletics Club member has thrown 49.93 metres in competition. An equivalent throw during the Games could see her in contention for a medal. ``I'm hoping to throw over 50 metres and I know I can do it,'' she said. ``I've thrown 51.90m at training. I'd be happy with a throw of about 50m and a medal would be a bonus. I'm constantly throwing about 49m. I was throwing a bit less a few weeks ago. My energy levels were a bit muddled up, but I'm 100 per cent ready for the Games now.''

Ashleigh trains five days a week guided by Coach David Prior. ``He's been there since I started and is always encouraging me,'' she said. ``A few times I felt I didn't want to do it anymore, but we sat down and talked about it. He's really good.''

Formerly a javelin thrower, Ashleigh took up hammer throwing four years ago, even though she'd been told she lacked ``the right build for it''.

She's more nervous about the long flight to India than she is about the opponents she will be up against at the Games. ``I can't even fly to Queensland without fidgeting, so I don't know how I'll go with this flight,'' Ashleigh said. ``I'll be fine when I get the travelling out of the way and start competing.''

Due to return to Australia on October 19, hopefully with a medal, Ashleigh hopes to build on her Commonwealth Games performance and attempt to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games.