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Australia’s fastest woman helping Unleash students’ potential

30 April 2019

OLYMPICS UNLEASHED: Naa Anang has had a big year - becoming the first woman to ever win both the 100m and long jump crowns at the 2019 National Titles, jumping a personal best (PB) of 6.81 metres all while studying for her physiotherapy degree.

And the 24-year-old is inspiring thousands of students around Queensland to unleash their passions through Olympics Unleashed.

“I love being able to work on something that is about inspiring kids to try something different and to find what it is that they love doing,” Anang said.

“I share what I love doing - long jump and sprinting - and my journey, to help kids talk about and find what they want to pursue.

“I really hope that the kids take the perseverance and resilience side out of what I’ve done. I’ve had a few setbacks along the journey but I’m still here and still going. I want them to see that it’s not always going to be easy, but you can still reach your goals at the end of the day.

“Don’t get too hung up on medals or shiny rewards - it’s so important to enjoy being part of a team, enjoy doing the work and getting your own performance."

And the changes she’s made to reach her career-best form are changes that can help kids become their personal best in their daily lives.

“I feel like the success I’ve had this year is a combination of a lot of things – I’ve been doing a lot of technical work to improve that side – but the mental and emotional side of it is so important too.

“Even just increasing my capacity to dream. Breaking my own sense or perception of myself – being able to overcome thoughts like ‘I’ll always be injured’ because I’ve had a few injuries in the past, working through that to become a more holistic athlete.”

Naa Anang

And meeting students around Queensland is helping drive Anang to even greater heights.

“I get re-inspired and re-motivated at every visit. It reminds me that I need to keep dreaming as well, to remove my limitations. It brings that freedom and joy back into my life I had as a kid, and I’m reminded of that every visit.

“Each school brings its own highlights, from big crowds to smaller visits in the regions, they’re all different and such bright kids. It’s an awesome opportunity to remind yourself that you started out young with all that excitement.”

Naa’s current run of form also means a trip to the hardware store before her next round of Unleashed visits.

“I use a piece of rope that’s cut to my PB length to show kids how far I can jump – I’m going to need to get a longer rope after that 6.81m jump!”

There are thousands of students right around Queensland hoping that Anang will need some more rope upgrades between now and Tokyo 2020.

Naa continues to take on the world at May’s World Relay Championships, June’s Oceania Titles and the World Championships in September. And she knows she’ll have support ringing out from schools right around Queensland wherever she competes.

Olympics Unleashed takes Olympians and aspiring Olympians into schools across Queensland - your school can be a part of Olympics Unleashed too. Register at www.olympicsunleashed.com.au  and keep in touch with your athlete on their journey to Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022.

Dominic Sullivan

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