Angeline Olympic ready

Angeline Olympic ready

Angeline Blackburn will join the list of East Gippsland Olympians tonight.

Angeline grew up in the small town of Cann River, where her love of running was sparked.

She will compete in the women's 4x400m relay.

Now residing in Canberra, the indigenous runner, 31, said her path to the Games was paved by the legacy of indigenous athletes who have come before her, such as Cathy Freeman and Nova Peris.

A proud Monero Ngario and Yiun woman, Angeline began her track career at the age of 10, the interest sparked by the 200 Olympic Games in Sydney.

My dream of running was certainly spurred on by watching the Sydney Olympics, Blackburn said in a recent interview with Athletics Australia.

I was amazed at how many amazing indigenous track and field athletes we had. The fact that we had Cathy Freeman, Nova Peris, Kyle Vander-Kyup and Patrick Johnson all competing at the Olympics at the same time made me believe that it was possible for more of us Indigenous athletes to make it to that level.

Angeline competed twice at the World Under 20 Championships. At the age of 18 at her second championships, she helped the 4x400m relay team to win bronze and that same year made her senior debut competing for Oceania at the World Cup.

After taking a break from the sport due to years of injury, Blackburn re-emerged in 2016 and within two years cemented herself as a 400m runner to watch, placing fifth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games trials.

Angeline's progression was rapid, and in 2019, she travelled with the Australian team to Japan, running in the mixed 4x400m relay at the World Athletics Relay Championships in Yokahama.

Angeline will join only seven other Indigenous track and field athletes as an Australian Olympian.

She is the only Indigenous track and field athlete set to represent Australia in Tokyo, and one of 16 indigenous Olympians on the wider Australian Team.

IMAGE: Athletics Australia