Perth based athlete Hannah Sullivan emerged as one of Australia’s shining lights at October’s World Junior Championships in Santiago, Chile.
The recently turned 17-year-old spoke to AKF Media about her experiences in Chile, which were filled with challengers both inside and outside of the mat.
“The experience was so amazing. Competing for my country and being in the moment against the best girls from around the world was such a different experience, and was also extremely hard.” She said.
“When we got there riots started happening in the country.”
These unexpected hurdles affected the Australian karate team causing distraction to their preparation for the event.
However Sullivan remained focused, with the situation having no negative effect on her quest for World Championship glory.
“Not on my mindset personally, I felt like on competition day I was focused,” She said.
“It impacted us (the team) in a way that we weren’t allowed to go to the venue to support our team. It was an experience where you had to go to your event alone on the day you were competing.”
Access to the venue was limited to athletes competing on the day, together with their families and supporters, coaches and team management.
The year 11 high school student finished in seventh place in the Junior Kumite Female 59+ kg event.
While Sullivan is now proud of her efforts, coming so close to a podium finish at the time – left her wanting more.
“I’m not going to lie, at the time it was a bit devastating because I was so close to coming third. But it (the result) gave me more to work on.”
“I’m really proud with how I placed and that I did better then the World Junior Cadet Championships two years ago.”
Her sister Rebecca is also a regular competitor on the world stage. The sisters’ train together at the family dojo which is owned by Brian Sullivan their proud Father.
Hannah often looks to her older sibling for inspiration at training and in competition.
“I look up to my sister so much, she gives me the most advice out of everyone.” She said
“She’s my training partner, I also look at how she competes and I learn from that. She’s probably the biggest inspiration that I have in karate.”
Sullivan realises the importance of building her knowledge and experience to take the next step of medalling at a World Championship.
“I would love to go around with some of the Australian coaches internationally to get some more experience.”
“I think I can do better at the next junior world’s and even the senior world’s, so I can have a higher chance of medalling.”