Congratulations to Chloe Esposito & Amy Pejkovic who have been inducted into the 2020 Little Athletics Australia Hall of Fame.
Read their full profiles from Little Athletics Australia below:
Amy Pejkovic was a member of the Cherrybrook Little Athletics centre in Sydney for 9 years, commencing in 2002 as an U9 and finishing in 2010 as an U17.
First qualifying for the LANSW (Little Athletics NSW) State Championships in 2005 as an U12, where she finished 6th in the high jump with a jump of 1.45m. Twelve months later, as an U13, Amy finished 2nd in the high jump (1.57m); 2nd in the long jump (4.98m) and 3rd in the triple jump (10.75m). These performances saw her selected in the Little Athletics NSW State Team to compete at the ALAC (Australian Little Athletics Championships) in Canberra, in April 2006. At the ALAC, Amy won the high jump, with a jump of 1.64m and finished 4th in both the long jump and triple jump.
Amy finished second in the long jump (5.48m) and triple jump (11.53m), and won the high jump with a jump of 1.80m. This jump was a LANSW State Record and an ABP (Australian Best Performance). Amy still holds the ABP today, shared with none other than Eleanor Patterson.
Amy was signed to modelling agency, Chic Management in 2007, and as a teenager, Amy’s modelling had already taken her to New York, and had seen her on the cover of Russh Australia and on the catwalk for Chanel.
After Amy became very ill at her 19th birthday party, her mother rushed her to hospital where an emergency MRI scan was performed. The scan uncovered a potentially life-threatening brain tumour located at the base of her skull, measuring over 5 centimetres. The cancer was the size of a baseball and it had to be removed urgently. The doctors told Amy that with the pressure the tumour was putting on her brain stem, she could have been dead within a matter of days.
A difficult, but successful operation saw the removal of the tumour and further analysis revealed that the growth was benign, and the operation was a complete success.
The invasive surgery had however left Amy’s whole body in a state of huge trauma. Amy lost 10 kg of muscle mass in two weeks. She had to re-learn how to walk and eat. “It was like I was a baby again,” she said. “My right and left side were just not in tune. I had no rhythm. For a while I considered packing it all in.”
In the 2013/2014 season, clearing 1.87m in March 2014 to be ranked number 2 in Australia again. Amy set her sights on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games but in January 2018, was forced to again re-adjust her goals when she was diagnosed with cartilage damage to her left knee. She underwent surgery on the knee and missed the next 18 months. Amy returned again to the track in March 2019, now considering Tokyo 2020 as a potential future goal. Amy said, “My career will continue into my thirties, so I’ve still got a while to go, and there’s the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020”.
For Amy, she says: “I enjoy both high jumping and modelling, and I would like to think I could continue to do both. They are both so different. Modelling is like being an actor, as we have to be in character for a day. The high jump allows me to be myself.”
Chloe Esposito was registered with the Liverpool City Little Athletics Centre in Sydney for 3 years from the 2003/2004 season when she registered as an U13, through until the 2005/2006 season as an U15.
Chloe still holds Liverpool City LAC centre records in the U14 and U15 age groups, being:
2005 U14 1500m 5:00.1 min
2006 U15 1500m 4:47.4 min
3000m 10:15.8 min
Chloe competed in the Little Athletics NSW State Cross Country Championships in 2004 and 2005, finishing 5th as an U13 in 2004 and winning the gold medal in 2005 as an U14. Then qualified for the State Track & Field Championships in 2005 and 2006, finishing 5th in the 1500m and 8th in the 800m (behind Alicia Keir and Selma Kajan) as an U14 and then 2nd in the 1500m (4:47.4 min) and 2nd in the 3000m (10:15.8 min) as an U15.
In an interview with Runners World Chloe Esposito talked about her Little Athletics experience “I started running when I was 10. I entered the school cross-country event and I really enjoyed it. I started doing some running sessions with dad and then picked up Little Athletics. I never won anything in primary school, but I enjoyed it a lot, especially hanging out and racing my friends at Little A’s.”
Chloe Esposito won the gold medal in the women’s modern pentathlon at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Australia’s first-ever medal in the event. Across the 5 disciplines of fencing, show jumping, swimming, shooting and running, that make up the modern pentathlon, Chloe won the 150th gold medal ever by Australia.
Congratulations Chloe & Amy!
To see the full 2020 Little Athletics Australia Hall of Fame please click here.