By Tony Bosworth – Editor Hawkesbury Post
Renee Hardy started Athletics young. She first got on the track at age 4 and worked hard over the following years, eventually winning many state and national medals and now holds several records at club, region and state levels, but it’s all been against the odds.
Renee – now aged 19 – is visually impaired and her parents originally signed her up with Little Athletics to help with her visual perception and motor skills. She proved competitive in Race Walking but then had to deal with hip and knee injuries and so she decided to concentrate on throwing events. She was talented in discus and shot put, but later took up Hammer Throw, where she has been especially successful and now competes for Australia at an international level.
In 2019, aged only 6, Renee won the Nationals competition for her age group in the Hammer event and broke the meet record too.
Not long after, she was selected for the Australian team competing at the Oceania Athletics Championships where she won Bronze in the Under-18 Hammer Throw.
“I know how tough it is for her to juggle work, uni and training,” says mum Christy, “but she works very hard at everything she does and it’s always nice to see the hard work pay off.”
Hammer Throw is a demanding sport and in March last year, Renee suffered injuries to her back and hip. She had weekly physio and very limited training and when the athletics season started in September, she was still unable to throw because of the injuries. But the South Windsor resident is nothing if not determined.
In February she decided to slowly start competing again and hope for a National qualifier, and soon after won the State Title to qualify for the Nationals.
“In March, like many in the Hawkesbury, our house was flooded,” Mrs Christy told the Post. “The same week, her Pop passed away and she got Covid. A week later she won the Gold medal at Nationals.”
Now the humble athlete who likes her actions to speak louder than any words, has been selected to represent Australia at not one, but two international competitions.
This last week she competed in the Under-20 Hammer Throw at the Oceania Athletics Championships in Mackay, Queensland where she came second with a personal best throw and was awarded the silver medal, and next week she flies to Saipan, as one of 14 athletes competing at the Pacific Games, where she will take part in the Open Women’s Hammer throw.
“After the way the past year or so has been,” says Renee, “it means so much to be able to represent Australia. With some ongoing injuries I didn’t even know if I’d be back throwing at all this season, I was just happy to be throwing, so to win Nationals and then get selected for two Australian teams is just amazing. What drives me is my love of the sport. I just love what I do. Everyone who has helped me get here is part of that drive too, especially my coaches and my physio.”
Her family have started a gofundme page to help with some of the costs of getting Renee to and from the competitions so she can keep representing her country, and you can contribute to that here to help the Hawkesbury’s hammer thrower keep on winning.