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06 May 2020
BY DYLAN DE JONG
Horsham export heptathlete Anna Bush has landed on her feet in her hometown after COVID-19 forced her back from America.
The college athlete, 20, found herself in a tricky situation while the pandemic was ramping up across the country in recent months.
When the National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, 2020 outdoor athletics season was cancelled, Bush said her parents Jeremy and Heather convinced her to return home to Australia.
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Bush said it was disappointing to miss out on competition this year, but returning home from her university in North Carolina was her safest option.
“It was pretty unfortunate – within a few days all the events were cancelled and we were told to head back home because there wouldn’t be any events for the rest of the year,” she said.
“It was pretty stressful. At the start we had coaches saying to stay because there might be other events, whereas my parents were saying, ‘no, you need to come home in case this gets worse’.”
The sport requires Bush to compete in seven track and field events in a set order over two days – running, jumping and throwing in a display of all-round athleticism. On returning home, Bush is now continuing with her heavy training schedule to stay on the top of her game.
“I’ve been able to create a makeshift gym with some rusty old weights. It is a lot of improvising, but it’s better than nothing,” she said.
“When I was in America I was doing three sessions a day.
“We’d do lifting, running events, speed and endurance for hurdles and one field event a day.
“It’s a pretty tough comp, but a lot of fun – you can only usually do one or two heptathlons a season, just because it’s quite taxing on your body.”
Shortly after turning 18, Bush accepted a position at Wake Forest University, in 2018, to study a Bachelor of Psychology and compete in heptathlons across the country.
Bush was approached by several American universities after noticing her place at Australian national events from as young as 15.
From her humble beginnings at Horsham Little Athletics in the under-six age group, Bush later moved to boarding school in Melbourne aged 15 in order to continue her progress in athletics.
She said her former Horsham coach Ricky Price drove her to pursue the sport.
“Ricky had this rule that if you were to compete in Melbourne or Ballarat you would have do a couple of events,” she said.
“That got me used to doing lots of events.”
Despite Bush’s move to America, she has stayed in contact with Price and helps him to train junior athletes in her holidays.
Bush said Price dropped off hurdles for her last week so she could continue training in self-isolation.
Bush, now trained by Olympic bronze medallist and Wake Forest University assistant coach Gray Horn, said her move to the US strengthened her love for the sport.
“My coach in America has been a great mentor, athletically and with what you need to do mentally to be the best,” she said.
“As a little kid I always looked up to Australians like Sally Pearson, but since I moved over to the US, I’ve almost developed a greater understanding of what it takes to be an athlete.”
With two years left of her degree at Wake Forest, Bush hopes to stay an extra year to study her masters and continue training with American coaches.
The entire May 6, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!