emima Montag celebrates at the Commonwealth Games

Jemima Montag celebrates at the Commonwealth Games. Credit: Victorian Institute of Sport

Jemima Montag is Australia's next great race-walking hope. She's already a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and is excited for Tokyo 2020.

Jemima Montag was one of the Australian Athletes announced as a member of the Tokyo 2021 contingent at the Australian Athletics National Championships recently.

She’s a champion race walker, having taken gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Despite that success, she’s still thinking about how this success has come together.

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“It’s really exciting. This was a childhood dream when I started Little Athletics at the age of 7, and there was a bump in the road, but it’s really exciting that we’re in the double digits” Montag told The Inner Sanctum, talking about the fact there are less than 90 days to go.

“It’s amazing to see the team in the green and gold and hold the boarding pass”.

Montag was thrilled to be wearing the yellow jacket of the Australian Olympic Team. She was looking forward to heading from the team announcement to the celebratory dinner to toast the athletes.

“Everyone will get dressed up. I have a yellow dress as it happens, and I’m bringing Mum as my date” Montag explained.

“Given that there will be no spectators in Tokyo, it is a bit heartbreaking not having my family there, but we will take what we can get”.

Montag knows that her family and friends have been with her on this journey since that start in Little Athletics all those years ago.

”They’ve been integral in the journey, so having Mum there at the Gala, while they announcer us, will be her little slice of the Olympics,” Montag said.

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Those family and friends have been with Montag through the challenges of the last year as well, and they’ve been part of why Montag has maintained her success.

“When they announced the postponement, it was heartbreaking, knowing that it wasn’t going to be going on, and knowing the pandemic was just starting. “I figured I would focus on what I could do” Montag explained.

She’s been working hard, breaking the 90-minute barrier for her pet event, the 20km walk this week. She’s now a serious medal contender, and someone the favourites will be watching.

“I’m lucky that in my sport, all you need is a long road and a pair of shoes. It forced me to double down and focus on all the one-percenters, and I think that’s really paying off for me, looking at my times now” Montag said.

She’s a gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games, a former top 10 winner at the World Championships, and is now hopeful of becoming an Olympic Medalist. Jemima has been walking a long time, but this is just the next step.

Montag put it simply, after the announcement. “Finally, people have stopped asking ‘do you think it will be on?’ and now it’s just ‘let’s get the vaccine, let’s get on the plane”.

Montag is ready for the next step.

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