Teen dashes to stunning Gift victory against odds
Surprises are all part of handicapped sprints but every now and then, you can be, well, surprised.
The 2017 LiveLighter Mullewa Gift was another superbly organised West Coast Athletics event but no one expected the winner to be unheralded 13-year-old Eleanor Disselkoen.
To be fair, she did show ability in her heat in which, coming off 28m, she ran second to Adriaan Pelser in 12.281sec.
She showed it again in the semifinal, which she won in 12.399sec. but no-one, Disselkoen included, expected a triumph in the final.
She was again on 28m and front marker and jealously guarded her handicap with a fluid and balanced run. But with the line approaching, it seemed certain Evan Jarvis, desperate to make history and be the first three-time winner, would track her down.
And if not Jarvis, then Kobi Nichols looked strong, or fast-finishing defending champ Sasha Zhoya.
Somehow, Disselkoen held on to win, lunging for the line and unaware her time of 12.302sec. was enough to hold off Jarvis (12.365sec.) and Nichol (12.289sec.).
“I didn't see anyone else at the finish but I knew everyone was there and I didn’t think I’d won,” Disselkoen said. “It was a big surprise. “I was just happy to win the Novice Gift so, yeah, very happy.”
Disselkoen plans to continue training under Matt Barber and improve but she’s in no rush.
She’s a talent at most sports and, as is the Australian way, plays as many as she can.
“I like netball, swimming, crosscountry and water polo, I don’t spend much time at home,” she said.
Julia Foulkes-Taylor with the Mullewa Gift placegetters Eleanor Disselkoen (first), Evan Jarvis (second), and Kobi Nichols (third).