Iluka first fell in love with running at her first Sports Day in Reception in 2015. After Sports Day, her mother took her to Western Little Athletics Centre (then called Henley Districts Little Athletics Centre). It was a Friday night in Summer – one Iluka remembers well: “I can still remember that night and how good it felt to run. I fell in love with it and just couldn’t wait for a Friday night to come around so I could do it all over again.”
Having no confidence at school and not understanding most of her schoolwork, she found herself daydreaming about running races. Iluka would get so excited to get back on the track as her self-confidence started to grow.
“Running makes me feel free. When I run, I feel something I can’t feel anywhere else in the world – the enjoyment I get… I can’t explain.”
Iluka’s biggest idol is Cathy Freeman and says she is the most inspirational person she has ever seen. She has enormous respect for what she has achieved in her career and what courage Cathy must have had to get there.
Just like Cathy Freeman, Iluka also loves the 400m. “I enjoy most events, but my favourites are 400m and 200m as I really enjoy running the bend.”
In 2019, at just ten years old, Iluka was lining up in Darwin for her first ever national track and field championship. Tentatively, she decided on entering the multi event, not knowing how she would go. After giving it everything she had, and countless prayers to God, she came away with her first national gold medal. Iluka says this was the moment she knew she had found her purpose.
The 2021/22 season of Little Athletics saw Iluka walk away with some outstanding achievements – ones she will never forget. In the Little Athletics State Individual Championships in April this year, she entered 5 events including the 100m, 200m, 400m, 80m hurdles and 200m hurdles. Reflecting on that day with maturity beyond her years, Iluka says: “I came away with 5 Gold medals and, with great honour, I won [a trophy for] ‘Female Athlete of the Meet’.”
If these medals weren’t enough, Iluka also broke four state records that weekend. She was overwhelmed with happiness that something she loved so much had brought her success.
After such an incredible feat, Iluka was selected to represent South Australia at the Australian Little Athletics Championships in Melbourne, just three weeks later.
She entered the 400m, 200m, 200m hurdles, 100m and the Medley Relay. It came as no surprise to anyone when Iluka came away with an astonishing four gold medals and one bronze. Iluka expressed humbly that she was just so happy to be running in the events and did not expect to do so well. She said: “It was just so amazing to do what I love and compete against so many talented juniors in Australia!”
Today, Iluka continues to compete at Western District Little Athletics Centre. Club President Jenni speaks highly of her, not just of her achievements but of her character. “Iluka is a very dedicated and motivated young athlete who has shown fantastic athleticism from a young age. We feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful and inspiring role model at our club and we can’t wait to see what her future years in Athletics have in store for her.”
With this incredible & special talent, Iluka Taylor will be the one to watch in years to come.
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What is Little Athletics all about?
Little Athletics on The Today Show
Listen to Programs & Events Manager Steven Marotti, who spoke on the SA Sports Show in 2018 about what Little Athletics is all about!