The tallest in her class at school, Jade Lally was originally pushed in the direction of the high jump.
Instead it was discus that grabbed her attention and, despite having trained with cows, sheep and alpacas among other animals in the past, Lally has no regrets about switching disciplines.
Originally from Mitcham but now residing in Horsham, Lally’s early athletics memories were of being asked to compete in the high jump by her school teacher, but results were not forthcoming.
Instead she started showing an interest in the discus after finding a small ‘plate thing’ in the school store cupboard and she was competing a year later aged 14.
As she rose through the ranks, she would eventually leave Hercules Wimbledon Athletics Club to join Sutton Athletics Club in a bid for higher competition, while she now trains with Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers.
The 28-year-old has also employed her own training methods in the past too, including among the aforementioned live animals after her father was given permission to build an Olympic standard discus circle in a local farmer’s field.
It all paid off last summer though after she won bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – even if the added attention was something Lally was not prepared for.
“I think you can see by the photos that I was a bit shell shocked by it all, all the media attention and everything that came with getting a medal,” she admitted.
“But now I’ve had that experience I feel like I’m better prepared. I was really happy with how things went at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and was hoping to kick on in 2015 but it was not possible.”
It was injuries in particular which hindered Lally this year, with kidney stone problems and a neck issue ruling out any chance of putting herself in the frame for the 2015 World Championships.
But with a fresh approach to training, she is determined to try and swap the farmer’s field for the South American city of Rio next summer.
“For me to get to Rio for the Olympics, it would mean so much. But I don’t want to think about it too much and put it on a pedestal,” she added.
“I need to be realistic. It’s a dream but it’s realistic for me to achieve. I just need to make sure I keep grounded and put in the hard work.
“It’s about little checkpoints, we’re in the qualification period now and it will run until July.
“Going forward, the main difference is we are going to monitor a lot of things, get more science on board and how I can get stronger and peak for the right time. It’s about putting the building blocks in place, starting with having a good winter’s training.”