Hi, I’m Jenna Merrick, I’m 17 years old and I have recently been selected to compete at the Youth Commonwealth Games in my chosen sport of cycling.
Ever since I was 10 years old I have been addicted to cycling. The most frequent question I get asked is, why? Why do I pursue a sport which involves such long hours of training, high risk of injury, steep hills, cold, and rain? The truth is, the highs of riding, racing and achieving, outweigh all of the rest. In the end, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
I first picked up the bike through the Baradene College cycling club and from day one I haven’t been able to put it back down. The thrill of going down those big hills, after the pain of going up them, the places I ride and the people I’ve met along the way have shaped my love for the sport and I’m definitely hooked for life.
Over the years I have found a lot of success in cycling, earning over 10 national titles and a few more national medals. I have also raced in the 2017 Oceania Games and gained a 4th place in the U19 Women’s road race. But most recently I have been selected to represent New Zealand at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games in the Bahamas as part of the road cycling team. I will compete in two races, an Individual Time Trial and a Road Race against some of the best riders in the Commonwealth.
My ultimate sporting dream is to race for New Zealand at an elite level in races such as the Olympics and World Championships for cycling. The games will provide an invaluable international racing experience which cannot be gained elsewhere. It will introduce me to a team environment in a foreign country, with different conditions and similar challenges to what I could face as I compete in higher profile competitions. Any racing among new competitors is a chance for me to grow and learn as a developing athlete.
This experience provides a huge learning opportunity for me and I am so excited to race for New Zealand and be part of this experience which will grow me as an athlete. This fantastic opportunity takes me one step closer to my ultimate sporting dream.
To make this trip happen I need some support.
As a year 13 student, I have time commitments to school studies as well as training so I don’t have a lot of spare time to have a part-time job, however, I am doing all that I can to raise the necessary funds and would really appreciate any support you could give me.
I cannot be part of these games without your help and I would be extremely thankful if you could assist me in getting to the Youth Commonwealth Games.