Competitive walker to follow in mum‘s footsteps

Alana Barber will follow in her mother‘s footsteps when she competes in the 20km walk tomorrow.

The 30-year-old‘s mother Shirley Somervell competed in the 800m at the 1974 Games in Christchurch, finishing eighth, and she is on the Gold Coast to cheer on Ms Barber. Her dad has also made a rare overseas trip to be there.

Race walker Alana Barber competes on Sunday Photo: Photosport

“My dad hasn‘t left New Zealand for 45 years.

“So for him to fly over for this race to watch me – to have both of them here together is really special.”

She had dreamt about having her mum watching a race for a long time, she said.

Polevaulter Olivia McTaggart‘s brother Cameron McTaggart is also competing on the Gold Coast – in weightlifting. They had been meeting up in the athletes‘ village to watch the competition, particularly gymnastics.

The 18-year-old also has Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney to lean on.

“To have her there at training is really awesome, and getting her advice going into a big games atmosphere is really good.”

“I do think she will win a medal – she‘s got a good chance,” she said.

The women‘s polevaulting is on Friday, 13 April.