Former Orange athlete Kate Smyth has encouraged Orange residents to get right behind Australia’s athletes as they aim for gold at this year’s Commonwealth Games that start in Glasgow tonight.
Mrs Smyth, who was born in Cowra but lived and trained in Orange, finished a courageous seventh in the 2006 Commonwealth Games marathon in Melbourne after suffering severe heat exhaustion.
Mrs Smyth knows exactly what it takes to prepare for the games and knows every bit of support the athletes get will go a long way.
“I hope the whole country gets right behind them for sure,” she said. “With the World Cup and Tour De France on recently I hope it doesn’t take the focus away from the importance of the games.
“People don’t realise how much their support means to the athletes so even though it is in Glasgow, I’d encourage everyone to get right behind our Aussies.”
When asked about how the Aussie marathon runners would fare this year Smyth was extremely positive.
“I think this year they are a very young team but they also have some well performed athletes. Over the past few years we’ve seen a transition towards younger athletes so there is a lot of unknowns,” she said.
“But with the team they’ve got they’ll be primed and ready for this perfect opportunity to demonstrate their ability.
“There will definitely be some medals with the possibility of some surprises.”
One athlete Mrs Smyth has high hopes for is up-and-coming star Jess Trengove.
“She’s only very young but is very experienced, well beyond her years,” she said.
“With some other key women stepping away I think she’s ready to take the step up to the next level.”
Mrs Smyth said the Australian athletes would be extremely nervous before the games kicked off tonight, but that was all part of what she describes as an incredible life experience.
“The pressure would certainly be starting to mount, especially in the media, but the athletes just can’t get caught up in that hype and have to remain focused,” she said.
“The best thing they can do is back off a little, relax - they’ve done all the hard work, now they just have to get out there and put it into practice.”