The 2016 World U20 Championship representative Lauren Bruce is an emerging talent in the hammer. Here the 20-year-old from the South Canterbury Club answers our Five Minutes With questions.

Why and how did you start in the sport of athletics?

I started athletics as an eight-year-old after coming home from school one day and telling mum I wanted to try it. She signed me up at my local club, South Canterbury and I have been doing it ever since.

What was your first significant win?

Winning the senior hammer title in 2014 at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships in Whanganui in my final year at school. I opened with 58m to easily secure the lead which then allowed me to use the remaining rounds to throw as far as possible. In the last round everything clicked as I threw 63.57m. This was massive moment for me as it was not only a 2m PB, but it was completely unexpected as I hadn't even managed that sort of distance in training. It was probably the moment that made me realise hammer was something I really wanted to continue.

What was your first major setback?


In 2012 I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my back and I had to take six months away from the sport. Up until then I had been a competitive gymnast and while it was relief to finally find out what had been causing me so much pain, it also meant making the decision finish gymnastics after nine years in the sport. However, in hindsight it probably worked out well as it gave me the opportunity to shift my focus to athletics.

What is your best piece of coaching advice?

"Don't push the river..." - take from that what you will. It is something my former coach always reminded me and I think I'm just starting to see its true value.

What qualities do you think every athlete needs to succeed?

A consistent work ethic, drive to be the best athlete you can and an ability to manage your thoughts. Often the challenge does not come from lack of physical ability but from the mind.

What is the most important thing you have learned from your time in the sport?

Make sure to have fun and not take yourself too seriously. One of my favourite sessions would have to be our weekly gymnastics session. It's good having something completely different as part of training and I love seeing how much I can still do. Everyone provides their fair share of entertainment. There's definitely plenty of laughter!

What is the best thing about being an athlete?

For me, it is being able to really challenge your physical and mental boundaries on a daily basis and having the opportunity to meet and train with some incredible people.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

This probably wouldn't count as a superpower for some, but I'd love to have the ability to sleep anywhere. I struggle to sleep during plane and car rides so it would make long distance travel so much easier.

What is your hidden talent?

I take quite a bit of pride in my baking ability. It is something that I really enjoy and I've made a habit of spending time baking on a Sunday, which I'm sure the flat-mates don't mind.

What would be your last meal?

I'd be quite content with steak, kumara chips and salad.

What is the most important piece of kit and why?

My hammer glove. It saves my fingers from getting too ripped up and I don't think I'd be able to throw without it!

What is your karaoke song?

On the off chance you would actually find me doing karaoke, I would probably say Bohemian Rhapsody. For some reason I distinctly remember learning it at school during Year 10 music class and I think it would be quite a fun one.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Caramel Slice without a doubt.

If you could have three dinner party guests, who would they be and why?

Koji Murofushi, a Japanese hammer thrower (and 2004 Olympic champion), who I met a couple of years ago. He had some pretty fascinating ideas about training which I'd love to talk more with him about.

Simone Biles the gymnast simply because she is such an amazing athlete.

Finally I think I'd have to go with Robert Sapolsky, an American neuroscientist who my coach recently told me about. A very intelligent and interesting guy.