Cyclist star welcomes 2018 games
THE golden girl of Australia's emerging cyclists yesterday said she was looking forward to a chance to shine when the eyes of the sporting world focus on Queensland in 2018.
Rockhampton's Taylah Jennings recently returned home a dual world champion after her stunning efforts at August's world junior championships in Moscow, cementing her reputation as one of cycling's stars of the future.
And as long as her career stays on track the talented 17-year-old has golden hopes when the Commonwealth Games are held on the Gold Coast.
The weekend announcement that the Queensland city had won the right to host the games has given Taylah a timely boost.
By the time the games arrive she will be 24.
"Cyclists probably peak around the mid-20s," said the Rockhampton High School student.
"I've always set myself pretty big goals."
Taylah said her initial reaction to the announcement was one of disappointment, but this quickly faded as the benefits dawned on her.
"Firstly I thought I wouldn't be able to travel," she said.
"But then I thought this is really good, it will enable us to really prepare well.
"With my experience in Russia recently there were a fair few of the riders who got sick from the food over there; that won't happen here."
She said competing in her home state would also enable family and friends to get more involved.
Taylah's mother, brother and sister joined her in Russia, but many more supporters will be able to get involved on the Gold Coast.
And Taylah believes Rockhampton could play a part in the Australian team's preparations.
On Friday night Taylah was named Australia's junior track cyclist of the year at an awards ceremony in Sydney, where she caught up with the sport's current golden girl Anna Meares and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.
Taylah's recent successes include:
2011 UCI Junior World Track Cycling Omnium Champion - Russia (won all six events)
2011 UCI Junior World Track Cycling Team Pursuit Champion - Russia
2011 UCI Junior World Track Cycling Team Sprint silver medallist - Russia
2011 Cycling Australia U19 Road Cycling Champion - NSW