Tweed?s golden girl back in run for glory


PLAGUED by injury, former South Tweed Heads golden girl Melissa Rollison has endured a rollercoaster ride that has tested not only the limits of her slender frame, but her love of athletics.

The dizzying highs of her glittering junior career and gold medal-winning performance at the 2001 Brisbane Goodwill Games in the 3000 metre steeplechase were followed by three years of crushing lows, with Rollison banished to the sporting wilderness due to a litany of injuries.

When Rollison, now 22, competes in the Commonwealth Games trials in February, she hopes it will be the start of a fresh new chapter in her career.

"I really hope so, after all the injuries," she said yesterday.

"I'll try out for the 3000 metre steeplechase, hopefully make the Games and after that head overseas for more training and go from there."

Now living in Brisbane, Rollison's career, punctuated by several junior and Open national long distance titles and her Goodwill Games win in September 2001, has suffered setback after setback.

"In 2002 I received a stress fracture to my tailbone," Rollison said.

"That took eight months to heal, then I went and re-did it, which wiped out 2003.

"I trained with Moroccan national distance coach Said Aouita from the end of 2002 when I could, and went overseas to train in 2004. I've been back on and off since then."

Now healthy and still hungry to reach the heights of her sport, Rollison has been back in full training for the past four weeks and has a new trainer in Melbourne-based distance coach Nick Bideau.

Touch wood, preparation for her tilt at Commonwealth Games selection couldn't be better.

"Training has been really good. It is a pretty good program and there have been no problems," she said.

After having broken down just prior to the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, Rollison hopes things are finally going her way.

After three years of despair, she's ready to step off the rollercoaster.

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