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16 November 2023 • Community

Next Gen – Talia Van Rooyen

Talia Van Rooyen is one of New Zealand’s leading teenage sprinters. Credit: (Alisha Lovrich)

First up in our new series focusing on young, emerging talent in our sport we put the spotlight on New Zealand U18 100m champion and 2022 World U20 Championship representative Talia Van Rooyen. The 17-year-old Auckland-based sprinter takes to the task of answering our questions where we discover everything from her weirdest food combination to the Hollywood star who would play her in a movie.

Are you and early bird of night owl?

I have to say early bird.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Gossip. Any unnecessary gossip.

What is your favourite TV show of all time?

Recently, Ted Lasso.

What is the weirdest food combination you’ve ever tried and actually enjoyed?

South African biltong and chocolate!

Is there a moment when you’ve felt truly proud of yourself as an athlete?

Last season when I had back-to-back injuries and still kept showing up to my competitions.

If you could compete anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

At the original Olympic track re-surfaced, but that would probably never happen!

What is the best part of athletics?

The journey to the competitions, meeting new people in training and travelling.

Where is your favourite place to compete and why?

In New Zealand it has to be Hawke’s Bay. It usually has good weather.

What inspired you to start athletics?

It all started in the sand pit watching my mum coaching some kids and I thought that would be fun. Here we are seven years later.

What is your Karaoke song?

Based off my Spotify I would say Passionfruit by Drake.

If someone could play you in a movie who would it be and why?

I would say Mila Kunis if she did a couple of months in the gym.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

I would have to say super speed because that would make life so much easier!

What is your favourite part about competing in athletics?

Probably the nerves, even thought it seems like a weird thing to say. Having the nerves and then experiencing the relief afterwards is fun.  

Do you have a favourite pre-event tune that you like to listen to?

I have my athletics playlist. As soon as I start my running, it has to be Happiness by Alexis Jordan

What has been your career highlight?

Competing at World U20s last year and representing my country for the first time.

***To watch the full YouTube video of the above interview go here