Wagga athletics sensation Carly Salmon jumped 3.31 metres and into the world record books on Friday.
At the NSW Combined Catholic Schools’ carnival in Sydney, she smashed the pre-existing long jump record by more than a metre, winning gold, and won gold in both 100m and 200m events.
Salmon’s Rio Paralympics dreams were dashed last year, due to a shin injury during the qualifiers.
Recovery has been arduous, to say the least, but she’s back with a vengeance.
“Coming back was tough, and I didn’t even think I’d remember how to jump,” she said.
“I haven’t been able to do the long jump for about three years because it’s too hard on my body.
“I just gave it a go.
“When they read the distance, it was crazy.
“I was absolutely stoked.”
Salmon has cerebral palsy, which mainly restricts movement from the left side of her body.
When they read the distance, it was crazy. I was absolutely stoked
But her greatest battle in life came when she just missed out on qualifying for the 100m and 200m sprints at Rio.
“It was mentally really tough to get back,” she said.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to go back to athletics, it was really difficult to be rejected.”
The kindness of family, friends and her school community at Mater Dei helped her through.
“My family has always been there for me,” she said.
“I’ve only realised now that they only ever want me to do what makes me happy.”
And, of course, her parents, Kevin and Cathy, were there in Sydney to watch her phenomenal feat on Friday.
Being at home has been tough for the past few weeks, while her coach, and many of her friends live it up in Rio.
She has shown true sportsmanship, cheering them on, and sending them messages of support.
Now she’s trying to put Rio behind her and set a new target; Tokyo 2020.
“This experience will only make me better, and stronger,” she said.
“I’m ready to start preparing for Tokyo.”
“I need to sit down and have a conversation about how I’ll go about it again.
“I think I’m definitely capable, I just need direction.
“It’s a brand new start.
“I’ll go again, come back better than ever.”
Long jump has always been her favourite athletic event, an event that has been scrapped for athletes in her category at the Paralympics.
She hopes the International Paralympic Committee reverses the decision so she can do her pet event in Tokyo.