SPIRE Institute and Academy (IA)’s own Anika Chatikavanij has set the bar high…just the way she likes it.
As a female pole vaulter, 17 year old Anika is a rare athlete in her native Thailand. “Unlike the United States,” Ankia explains, “there aren’t many pole vaulters, much less female pole vaulters. In fact, there are less than ten female pole vaulters in all of Thailand.”
A true sports fan, Anika made her rounds across the athletic landscape before choosing pole vaulting. She had tried every sport possible, including basketball, football, swimming, gymnastics, squash, softball and track. When her coach in Thailand saw her competing and excelling in the long jump, he decided to let her try something a little different: pole vaulting.
For Anika, coming to the US was a natural choice. “In Thailand, there are far less opportunities for pole vaulting and only around four meets per year. The training facilities aren’t as good in Thailand, either, so my options were far more limited than here in the US.”
Anika began her new passion at the beginning of 2020, and, despite only a little over a year of experience, is showing incredible promise in pole vaulting. SPIRE Track & Field Coach Tim Mack explains, “It has been great having Anika train here for the last month. She has made some unbelievable progress. I am excited to continue to work with Anika and see her continued improvement and success in the coming year as well as at the collegiate level.”
Anika chose SPIRE after a recommendation from George Duangmanee, founder and CEO of The Agency College Recruit. “At that time,” Anika explains, “I was at a plateau. I thought this would be a very good opportunity, not just to be training in a different environment, but also to be working with Tim Mack.”
Anika is continuing to train and looking to the future. “I hope to continue vaulting in college, and to compete in NCAA. Ultimately, my goal is to compete for Thailand.”