Sarah Carli is a member of the Australian Athletics team and a NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holder. She made her Olympic debut at the 2021 Tokyo Games and finished sixth in the women’s 400m hurdles at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Hailing from Wollongong in New South Wales, Carli marked her international status when at the 2011 World Youth Championships she claimed silver in the 400m hurdles.
Following a series of injury setbacks, Sarah returned to competition in 2018 and progressed on to earn selection for the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha where she achieved a semi-final placing. Following this career highlight, in December 2020 she ran a new PB of 55.09 and in doing so gained herself an Olympic qualification time for the Tokyo Games.
Sarah sustained a life-threatening injury while training in February 2021, putting her Olympic preparations on halt. When training alone at a local gym, she slipped and fell forwards when stepping onto a box – the bar on her shoulders crushing her neck. As a result she tore the artery in her neck that supplies blood to the brain – requiring a vein to be removed from her thigh and planted into the area to prevent a stroke.
Upon awakening from the successful procedure, Carli was informed that she could not exercise for five months – a prospect that did not sit well with the determined hurdler.
You can’t do anything over 120 beats per minute she was told. By March she could barely walk down her driveway, in mid-April she jogged 100-metres, and in June she cleared her first hurdle, racing in Townsville to secure her Olympic place.