Wollongong pole vaulter James Gorham is eyeing off a medal when he competes at next week's Oceania Athletics Championships.
The competition marks Gorham's first selection in an Australian team and the 17-year-old said he's feeling a mix of nerves and excitement ahead of the event.
"It's my first time being on a national team, so I was surprised but really happy to be selected," Gorham said. "It will be the biggest competition I've competed in so I'm very excited, but also quite nervous.
"There will be a lot of pressure, I have family members coming up to watch, but I'm still going to have a lot of fun. My goal is to win a medal."
Gorham has been jumping since he attended a come-and-try day at Beaton Park and he has improved in leaps and bounds since then.
His Australian selection came on the back of an impressive summer in which he claimed gold at the NSW Junior Championships and won silver with a jump of 4.35 metres in the under 18s pole vault at the Australian Championships.
While he was pleased with the silver medal and personal best at nationals, Gorham still believes he can jump even higher if he puts it all together on the day.
"I felt like I was going quite well, in training I was getting closer to 4.50m. I didn't have the best technique on the day, but it was enough for silver and a new PB which was good.
"Clearing 4.50m is my next height goal. The goal is just to keep improving. It's like all sports, sometimes you improve really quickly, other times you stagnate for a few months. In general I've been able to keep improving, the next peak is always higher."
Such is the nature of pole vault, Gorham is required to split his training time between strength, running and jump technique.
He trains in Wollongong with Barry and Michael McClelland and at Sydney Olympic Park with Hungarian Olympian Zsuzsanna Szab-Olgyai.
"Michael and Barry have been with me the whole way. Zsuzsanna has been great as well. She's helped quite a lot, she's done it all before, she really knows her stuff."
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