Ten mins with Eugene Vollmer
2015 Pacific Games Triple Jump Champion
What is your best athletics quality?
I’m not too sure what my best athletic quality is but I think it would be finishing and what I mean by that is just having to complete the workout regardless how tough it maybe or even if I’m not hitting the target times on running workouts. I’ll make sure that I do it properly, to the best of my ability and making sure that I finish the workout.
What do you most enjoy about athletics?
I enjoy the physical gains; like a toned body (even though I’m not as ripped as other athletes), the healthy lifestyle. I get to be myself out there on the track and at the same time discover more of myself in training and competing, knowing my limits and knowing when to push and when not to. I enjoy being around other athletes who are like minded and goal driven.
What age were you when you started your athletics? And How you started
I first took part in athletics at the age of 10 and did not take it seriously as I was more interested in hanging out with friends on the weekends where we’d go swimming in the river or go dune surfing at the sand dunes and as a result I stopped athletics all together when I turned 14.
After joining Marist Brothers’ High School, which is a 3hour bus ride from where I lived, I began to seriously think about doing athletics after seeing the rich tradition which the school had in the sport and partially because of fame. My friends, who happened to be athletes, were getting girlfriends and I didn’t want to be left out.
I tried making it into the team in the Long Jump and failed in my first 3 years of high school, I had lost hope the 3rd time and decided to take up another sport, field hockey and did ok. But it was during one of the training sessions that I had torn through the sole of my canvas and was told to leave the training session as they did not allow anyone on the artificial turf that didn’t have a proper pair of canvas to train with. Upon leaving the hockey centre, I glanced over to the track and noticed a group of Palagis handing out pairs of canvas and so I decided to jump the fence and try my luck at getting a new pair.
Man was I in for a surprise because what I did not know was that I had to be doing some sort an athletics event. A short slim, Brad Pitt looking American sees me coming up to the group, comes on over and introduces himself; “Hi I’m Jonathan Thiesen but you can call me JT, I’m a jumps coach, what events do you do?” and I replied, “Hi JT, pleasure to meet you. I’m Eugene but you can call me Gene, I do the long jump.”
Little did he know that I only came there for a free pair of shoes. Long story short, he took me for a little coaching clinic, introduced me to the triple jump, I got my free pair of shoes and a coach who has been my coach since I was 16. I fell in love with triple jump because he made it enjoyable for me and that has been the key to my success in that particular event; doing what I love and having fun at the same time.
What have been your major highlights/achievements in athletics?
My major highlight in athletics would be finally winning my first individual gold medal at the South Pacific Games in Port Moresby PNG. I had come 2nd twice at the 2007 and 2011 SPG’s. It was even more memorable because what everyone didn’t know was that during the SPG in PNG, I competed with a heavily strained and bruised glute which made it really difficult to sprint at top speed and made triple jumping even more excruciating.
My 2nd major athletics highlight is being the only Fijian triple jumper to jump 15m and 16m in the triple jump.
List your current personal best in each event and where
Triple Jump – 16.08m, I jumped that in the 2nd round of the 2012 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, Indiana USA.
What do you like and dislike about training?
Like – I like everything about training, the physical gains, the healthy lifestyle that training promotes.
Dislike – the only thing about training that I dislike is the first day back in training after a long rest. I find it really hard and my body is usually sore for a whole week.
Who is your favourite athlete or sportsman/woman of all time and why?
My favourite athlete would be Ashton Eaton; I have ultimate respect for decathletes because of their sheer determination and insanity of having to compete in 10 different events. Ashton Eaton is an all rounded athlete and is talented enough to make the finals of the individual events that he takes part in in the decathlon.
What is the best part about competing?
The best part about competing is discovering more about you. I’m pretty sure you’ve done this as well; I’ve found myself learning from other athletes in seeing how they approach a competition, what they wear, how they warm up etc.
If you could play another sport what would it be?
Most probably Field Hockey
What is the greatest thing you’ve witnessed in an athletics stadium?
In 2012, I watched Ashon Eaton set the world record in the decathlon during the US Olympic Trials.
What are some of your medium/short term goals? (Within the next year or so)
Short term – To make sure that at every training session I do the little things right; like doing cooldowns, stretches, recovery sessions, core work, eating right, hydrating etc.…
Medium term – to win at the Vanuatu Mini Games, improve my personal best and use that to propel myself to a better performance and ranking at the Commonwealth Games in 2018
Who do you wish was watching you perform at every game or match? I wish my coach could attend every competition I competed at. It’s been tough having to compete without him at every major international and regional competition.
What is the funniest thing you’ve seen on track?
Not really sure.
What is your favourite song to listen to prior to competing?
I don’t usually listen to music before any competition; however I do make sure that on the day of competition, I watch my cartoons. It helps me lighten up rather than being tensed and stressed out.