Sarah Cowley wins the women's long jump senior final at the
Athletics New Zealand track and field championships at the
Caledonian Ground in Dunedin last year. Photo by Craig
Olympian Sarah Cowley will be on familiar territory when
she comes back to Dunedin as ambassador for the New Zealand
secondary schools athletics championships next month.
Cowley (28), a fulltime athlete from Auckland, won four
senior titles when the event was held in Dunedin in 2001. She
won the high jump, long jump, 100m hurdles and the 4x100m
"It was a great weekend for my final secondary school
nationals and coming home with four titles," Cowley said.
"It was the first time I jumped over 6m in the long jump,
which was a great feeling."
Cowley was a promising athlete at school and finished ninth
in the 4x100m relay at the world junior championships in
Santiago in 2000, and fifth in the medley relay at the world
youth championships in Debrecen in 2001.
She has concentrated on the heptathlon for the last seven
years, finishing 10th at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
in 2006, and 26th at the Olympic Games at London this year.
"Competing in London was phenomenal," Cowley said.
"Being on the world's greatest sporting stage was what I was
after for a long time.
"It was very noisy in the main stadium and having three Brits
and the "Face of the Games" [Jessica Ennis] in my event made
the heptathlon special. It was a great feeling throwing a
personal best of 41.90m in the javelin.
"I wanted more but it was my second-best legal points score
so I can't complain too much."
It took Cowley 11 years to go from the national secondary
schools championships in Dunedin to the Olympics in London.
She has the second-best all-time score of 6135 points for a
New Zealand athlete in the heptathlon and the second-best
high jump of 1.91m.
The New Zealand secondary schools championships will be held
at the Caledonian Ground on December 8 and 9. It will be the
fourth time the event has been held in Dunedin. The other
occasions were in 1985, 1991 and 2001.