Jodie defies gravity with a dynamic performance
Pretoria – She sits on the couch in the hotel foyer and smiles shyly revealing a full set of braces like a 14-year-old schoolgirl. She has just been crowned the South African Champion in the women’s pole vault.
However, it seems reality still hasn’t sunk in for the dynamic little athlete from the Strand in the Western Cape.
Jodie Sedras on Thursday became the first Western Province Athlete to bag a gold medal in the pole vault for women at the South African National Track and Field Championships at the Tuks-stadium in Tshwane.
The diminutive 23-year-old stands only 1.5m tall in her socks. She however surprised everyone by blowing away the competition leaping to a outstanding 3.90m. Nicole Janse van Rensburg (3.80m) and Tonet Tallie (3.50m) both from Boland claimed bronze and silver respectively.
What makes Sedras performance so astounding is that she only started doing pole vault after she left school as a 19 year-old.
“I was a gymnast when I was at school. I always heard that gymnasts makes good pole-vaulters. So, I thought I would just try it out when I started at Maties (Stellenbosch University).
“Initially my intention was just to do it for fun. Only when I cleared 3m metres, I decided to take it seriously. All I knew was that 3m was the first big milestone. Everybody was getting excited about 3m. So, when I cleared 3m I thought I was amazing.
“However, I quickly realised that I am actually not that amazing. So I decided to work harder Mohammad Allie from Stellenbosch University introduced me to the pole vault coach and I took it from there.
“Pole vaulting is not an easy discipline. It is extremely challenging, but when you finally get it right, it is very rewarding because you know you had to work hard for it. “To run with a 4 meter long pole in your hand is hard as it is.
“To be successful in pole vaulting is not only about speed. It is more about rhythm. You have to start slower and gradually accelerate and end as fast as you can,” she explains.
Sedras has completed her BSC degree and is currently studying sports conditioning at ETA College also in Stellenbosch.
She says she has been the number one in the country in her discipline for the past two years. She was crowned SA champ at junior level, but has never managed to win at the SA Seniors competition.
“Winning gold at the SA seniors has always been my goal. When I started out four years ago I always knew that I would eventually achieve this because I consider myself as someone who works extremely hard.”
The determined athlete had a previous best height of 3.80m. She improved her height by an incredible 10cm.
“My next goal is to at least reach 4.10m and I am confident that I will get there. I also know that I will get to the Olympic qualifier of 4.50m. I train twice a day with a gym session in the morning and a vaulting session later in the evening. I accomplished quite a lot in a short period and I am really excited about what I can achieve in the future,” she adds confidently.