Local Olympians Drew Ginn, right, and Kaila McKnight met for the first time at a fundraising night for Beau Vernon hosted by Rob Tesoriero and the Wonthaggi Power Football Club. m244312
SOUTH Gippsland Olympians Drew Ginn and Kaila McKnight have both set their sights on Rio in 2016. For Drew, it may well be as the head coach of the Australian Rowing Team, but don’t rule him out of competition either. For Kaila, her Olympic dream is burning more brightly than ever after getting her first taste of the world’s biggest sporting feast in London this year. But the Australian 1500 metre champion is considering stepping up to the 5000 metre event for which she has already achieved a B Qualifying time. Both discussed the extent of their ambitions for the future at a fundraising dinner for Beau Vernon in Wonthaggi last Friday night during surprisingly revealing interviews with football legend Terry Wallace who was also a featured guest at the function in St Josephs’ Parish Hall. Kaila said she had preferred to play netball as a youngster because it was a team sport, rather than run at Little Aths, only taking up athletics again to keep fit when she’d started uni. “The first goal had been to make the team for the university games and I had to improve 10 seconds for that. “Then it was just to get as good as I could. I wanted to be the best in the state and then best in the country, now I’ve won two Australian championships,” said Kaila. “I made the semi-finals at the Olympics and I’ve got four years to improve 12 places.” Kaila said she didn’t know where her will to compete came from but she said she still had an all-consuming desire continue in the sport; work ambitions and even family considerations taking a backseat for the time being. Kaila also shed some light on her semi-final race, noting that she carried a hip injury into a race that mostly featured sprinters. So it’s definitely on to Rio for Kaila and maybe for Drew Ginn too, who revealed his plans to “throw his hat into the ring for the job of Australia’s head coach”. And about that silver medal, Drew says it might just about be his most prized possession in sport, out-shining even his three golds, because of what the crew had overcome and how hard they’d competed to get there.