By Lawrence Machado
Alex Hulley with her boyfriend Ned Weatherly after they both won Australian titles.
The Rouse Hill ace threw 65.11 metres to retain her crown which brings her tantalisingly closer to her Olympic debut in July.
Australia’s top female hammer thrower is ranked 26th in the world, which is good to make the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in July. However, Hulley is capable of throwing longer with her best being a tremendous 69.99m nearly a year ago. The Olympic qualifying distance is 72.5m.
“I am very happy to have won my third national title-in-a-row, with the others coming in 2018 and 2019 (there was no nationals last year due to Covid-19),” Hulley said.
“I have time till the end of June to qualify, though because I am in the top 32 in the world, I could compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
“I have to be competitive as my other rivals are also doing their best to go to Tokyo.
“I am going very well at the moment and I have made a lot of improvements in the last few weeks.”
Hulley, whose younger sister Georgia also competed in the pole vaulting event at the Australian nationals, had a double celebration when her boyfriend Ned Weatherly took out the men’s hammer throw title.
She is confident she can juggle training with her nine-week placement for her university degree at Nepean Hospital. Hulley is on an Australian Catholic University Elite Performer Program scholarship and is in her final year of studying occupational therapy. She aims to specialise in neuro rehabilitation.
“There are no competitions in May and then I plan to compete in Queensland to get the qualifying marks for the Tokyo Olympics,” Hulley said.
“I am training five days a week, including sessions at the gym which is making me stronger.”
Hulley’s remarkable career includes holding all Australian junior age records. She has formidable international experience, winning silver at the 2014 Youth Olympics and the 2016 World Under 20 Junior Championships.
When the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed last year due to Covid, Hulley said she would be using the extra year to become better.
Her coaches Bre Clement, who spotted her potential as a Year 7 student, and Karyne Di Marco, a former Olympics and Commonwealth Games athlete, are behind her successes and her amazing ability to save her best for the big moments.