Name: Selam Gifford
Pursuit: Track and Field Athlete.
My name is Selam Gifford. I am 20 years old. I arrived from Ethiopia four years ago, and live with my four sisters and my mother in McCrae on the Mornington Peninsula, where you can often see me running around the Bay track. I run for Frankston Athletics Club every second week. The grant will be a great help for me; now I will be able to get orthotics, new runners, and see a physio for my shin splints injury from which I have been suffering for almost 2 years now. I’ll get some professional coaching on steeplechase techniques before my first ever Athletics Victoria Championship on 27th February.
When did you start?
In 2011, at age 16 I started at my first high school education in Australia. I was introduced to school events like Athletics Day and Cross Country for the first time. I loved sports so I involved myself in everything new I could try eg: Netball, Gymnastics and swimming. Sports day were my favourite days of the week. Cross Country Completion started sometime in winner so I started training. I competed with my year level and I came first. It was my first ever competition, I think my time was 16-17mins. The next step was to compete with other schools and then Zone etc. I came, second place after competing with the other schools. The Zone competition was very hard because there were more than a 100 competitors, skilled and faster. I was envious their 3km in 9.30 to 13minutes as I was way behind them. This motivated me to train harder. *** In 2013 I decided to enrol in Certificate III and IV in Fitness. As my Course didn’t start till March I couldn’t stand staying at home for a whole month. So I started running every morning at 7am I felt happy and start thinking positively. I soon realised I needed to start competing with other great runners. So with my mum’s and friend’s help I found a good coach and joined Frankston Athletics Club. With my mum’s and Friends help I started to train 3 days a week with a coach, Bronwen Loizon. My fitness levels start developing quickly and also my times improved. I was happy my times was better than the students I had competed. I strongly believe that if I keep up with the hard work, fight well and never look back I might become a Champion one day. My expectation for the future is to go to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Career highlight or biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement so far is a qualifying time for the Australian Championships in 3000m Steeplechase.
What is your dream?
My dream is to become an international runner. I want to represent my adopted country Australia and also be proud of my Ethiopian Heritage. My ultimate dream, the one I am working toward, is to be in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Who or what have inspired you?
The athletes that inspire me to achieve are Ethiopian runners - Meseret Defar and Genzebe Dibaba whose careers I follow. I know how hard they would have worked to achieve their goals.
Who's your hero?
Genzebe Dibaba is my hero. In 2014 she broke three world records in 15 days.
Any other special talents?
The ability to motivate my Personal Trainer clients. I love to see them achieve their goals.
John Mayer, Rihanna and Gabrielle Aplin
The Help - By Kathryn Stockett The Kite Runner - By Khaled Hosseini Never Tell Me Never - By Janine Shepherd
Favourite TV Show?
Arrow, Wonderland and Revenge.
Any spicy food from any culture.
How the grant will help you/how will you use the money?
The grant will assist me with professional coaching, training gear and runners and to pay for physiotherapy to prevent and treat any injuries.
Last words: Quote or Motto you live by?
"Hold on tight to your dreams, they give you something to live for." "Remember, you are what you dream."