Monash University’s resident sprinting superstar, Alexia Loizou, proved once again to the athletics world that she is a force to be reckoned with, winning the Stawell Gift Women’s handicap sprint.
After convincing wins in her heat and semi-final, Alexia had her sight set on victory in the final race.
“In the semis, I ran the fastest time again and that’s when I really thought ‘you can do this’,” Alexia said. “I just didn’t want anything to get in the way of achieving the win.”
Coming off a handicap of 5.75 metres, Alexia ran a near perfect race and was too good for her competition, winning in style and becoming $ 40,000 (Australian dollars) richer in the process. However, it wasn’t all perfect runs and fairy tales for the star sprinter leading-up and there were times when it looked like she wouldn’t be competing in the event at all, let alone winning.
“Lots of hard-work and dedication went into the win,” Alexia said. “Earlier on in the season I was having really big problems with my feet. Then four weeks out at training, my knee cap slid out and I had really bad pain to the point where I couldn’t finish sessions. I had a lot of stress going in, thinking that I was under-prepared because of my knee issues. I knew that my speed wasn’t where it needed to be.”
Despite the setbacks, the second-year nursing student refused to quit and said that faith in her coach and in herself got her across the line.
“I trusted my coach to get me where I needed to be,” she said. “I worked really hard on changing my mindset around. In the past I’ve always felt that believing in myself was kind of arrogant but it’s okay to believe in yourself.”
Alexia credited Monash University for the support through its ESPS scheme that provides for student athletes.
“I know how much support they offer athletes that are also studying and they just really back you and I definitely felt that,” she said.“I felt such a sense of pride to be able to tell people that I was a part of Monash and representing Monash.”
Alexia now plans to take a well-earned break before focusing on her track running ahead of Nationals next season.