28 January 2019
SYDNEY TRACK CLASSIC STAR: Sarah Carli’s Journey
I’m sure, of all the names that have been pencilled in for the world championships, Sarah Carli, 24, is not one of them. But at the Canberra Track Classic three weeks she resurrection her athletics career clocking a world championships qualifier, the second by any athlete this summer. Sydneysiders will have a chance to see the Wollongong star, race at the Sydney Track Classic over her pet distance – the 400m hurdles.
Three weeks ago in Canberra, the virtual unknown hurdler defeated Lauren Wells, the dominate athlete in the 400m hurdles, for the last six years. It wasn’t as if Wells faulted as they both ran world championships qualifiers – the second and third athletes to achieve the standards this summer on the track.
In Canberra she hit the line in 55.67 seconds, passing Lauren Wells in the sprint to the finish. It was a one second personal best and elevated her to number seven in Australian history.
“Phenomenal,” was Carli’s description of her performance. “I have been training so well and everything was there but to actually put it into a race.“
But the story behind this performance is her own perseverance. As a 16-year-old in 2011, she claimed a surprise silver in the 400m hurdles at the World Youth Championships. But then things happened and life got in the way of her sport.
“I forgot the sport was for fun and as a junior I got badly injured, so I was then enjoying other aspects of my life and I wasn’t ready to give that up. I was at university and working at Costco - huge hours and late nights.”
From 2013 to 2017 she competed but couldn’t break 59.30, and was certainly not at the 58.05 level she had been as a 16-year-old, but things started to change in 2018 and the times tumbled. She dipped under 59 seconds, then 58 seconds and at the Commonwealth Games trials 56 seconds.
So why the improvement?
“I was then working nine to five and had a routine. Making it to all my sessions. I had a desk job (Financial adviser and mortgage broker) so that was been the difference.”
Sarah Carli competes again against Lauren Wells and a strong field in the 400m hurdles on Saturday night at the Sydney Track Classic.
Sydney Track Classic – Saturday 23 February, Homebush.
▪️Little Athletes & U12s – free
▪️Adults – http://bit.ly/2MGZSDq
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Sarah Carli (courtesy of David Tarbotton)