She’s one of the biggest names in Australian athletics but this weekend Melinda Gainsford-Taylor returns to her home region to help inspire some future sporting stars.
The Narromine born three-time Olympian will be at DCL Park on Sunday to host an Explosive Speed Clinic while she will pass one some of her vast knowledge and help try and inspire some local athletes.
“Being a country kid I understand there’s a lack of opportunity there but it has improved a lot,” she told the Daily Liberal on Friday.
“The knowledge I’ve got, I’ve been a kids’ coach for the past 10 years now so I’ve learnt a lot and I’d like to share it.”
While keen to help budding athletics stars go on to bigger and better things, Gainsford-Taylor says her clinic can help all kinds of young sportspeople.
The training focuses on technique when running and ways to minimise injury, something which is useful in all sports.
“People don’t realise how important it is to run correctly,” she said.
“If you can learn the technique it will be beneficial in whatever sport you play. What I’ve seen is technique and speed helps in any sport so its not just targeting little athletes, even though that is great, but I know a lot of kids play things like footy and netball.”
Gainsford-Taylor ran at countless meets at Dubbo as a junior before going on to become one of the most recognisable athletes in the country.
A star of the 100m and 200m, the Narromine product became a world champion in 1995 and finished her career in 2000 with 13 individual titles, while she also won two Commonwealth Games medals.
To this day, she still holds the Australian records over both the 100m and 200m and on Sunday she can’t wait to see the local region’s premiers athletics facility, DCL Park.
“I ran there as a kid and I did a clinic there back in 2000 so I know it will be very different,” she said.
“It’s incredible and really important for Dubbo and the surrounding areas to have a track like that.”
As well as passing on technique assessments, Gainsford-Taylor is also just as passionate about telling kids, especially those from country areas, to never give up.
“I can offer help and I’m not just there to train them,” she said.
“I’m there to talk about my experiences and how I was a country kid who dreamed of going to the Olympics.”