Pole Vaulter Tori Pena will compete in her third IAAF World Championships in Beijing this Monday for Ireland, we caught up with Tori outside of the Bird’s Nest National Stadium who reflected on her preparations.
“For my first championships in Korea (2011), I was really just chasing the B standard as it was my first major competition,” reflected Pena. “I had competed in Europe before, but it was my first ever on the world stage. It was such an honour and such an accomplishment for me personally.”
“I am continuing to get stronger every year which is really exciting for me.”
“Moscow in 2013 was an okay competition, but I still didn’t jump as well as I know I could of, so I am definitely looking forward to another shot here in Beijing. The final is going to be tough to make, it’s a really competitive field but it’s always the goal. I am continuing to get stronger every year which is really exciting for me.”
After finishing UCL in California and knowing she was keen to pursue the sport, she found her coach Greg Hull, who is now part of the Altis set-up.
“I have actually been training over in Phoenix since 2012 as part of my build up to the Olympics in London. Altis has been a great move for us as there are so many athletes, coaches, and support services in the training environment.”
“It is so exciting as it’s my first championships being a part of Altis. There is definitely a nice warm familiarity when you’re in the dining hall and you see somebody from another country that you can say hello to.”
“There’s a big feeling of pride of being part of a really cool group, and it’s nice to have familiar friends around the track.
Tori first competed for Ireland back in 2010 and as there are 15 in the team she has really got to know the whole team individually.
“We have a small group which means you can really get to know each other on an individual basis, and everybody is lovely”
“I travelled with the Irish team after our Nationals to Hong Kong for a 10-day training camp. It was good to get acclimatised to the time zone and the heat. It went well and I got a good last jump session in on Friday.”
“The nerves are always there, but my approach has been better. Before I was awe struck to be competing with athletes who I had looked up to. But now my approach is more measured and I can concentrate on my own strategy for the day.”
“As you mature as an athlete you realise there are so many more advantages. I feel stronger in my training and in my ability now so it’s just putting those things together on the day.”
“I feel like I have started to get into a stride this season and I want that to continue into the competition here and beyond.”
Tori’s Women’s Pole Vault competition gets underway on Monday (24th) morning at 9.30am local time.