Quar­tet fly flag for WA in Sydney

Southern Telegraph - - Sport - David Sal­vaire

Four bud­ding ath­letes from Rock­ing­ham Dis­tricts Lit­tle Athletics Cen­tre took to the big stage last week­end to rep­re­sent WA at the na­tional ti­tles.

Jack Ahearn, Jorga Milling­ton, Makayla Chap­ple and Zahli Jolly im­pressed WA se­lec­tors at the State cham­pi­onships last month and trav­elled to Sydney Olympic Park for the 2017 ASICS Aus­tralian Lit­tle Athletics Cham­pi­onships.

Un­for­tu­nately, the quar­tet did not win medals in their var­i­ous events but just be­ing se­lected was a huge hon­our, ac­cord­ing to Jack, who ran the 400m, 100m and 4x100m re­lay.

“When they said I was go­ing over there, I thought ‘have you got the right per­son?’ and it didn’t re­ally sink in un­til a lot later,” he said.

Jack said he hoped to fol­low in the foot­steps of 400m sprinter Ben Of­fer­e­ins or US cham­pion Michael John­son, but was also en­joy­ing the so­cial as­pect of the sport.

“It’s not all about run­ning — you can have fun and muck around as well,” he said.

“It’s re­ally great see­ing friends I haven’t seen for ages.”

In the lead-up to the ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion, the ath­letes were train­ing hard at Chal­lenge Sta­dium un­der the watch­ful eye of some of the State’s best coaches.

Jorga, who com­peted in the hep­tathlon, said her passion for the sport kept her mo­ti­vated through the gru­elling train­ing ses­sions.

“We train four or five times a week for a cou­ple of hours at a time,” she said. “I was a bit ner­vous be­cause I’d never been to a na­tion­als be­fore, but it’s pretty ex­cit­ing at the same time. “It’s im­por­tant to stay fo­cused and I’ve got my own goals but I also love it as well, so that def­i­nitely helps.

“It’s pretty hard to get to the pro­fes­sional level but I def­i­nitely want to stick with it for as long as I can.”

Pic­ture: David Sal­vaire

Photo avail­able at west­pix.com.au Rock­ing­ham Lit­tle Athletics Cen­tre’s Makayla Chap­ple, of Kwinana, 13, Zahli Jolly, of Safety Bay, 15, Jack Ahearn, of Sin­gle­ton, 12, and Jorga Milling­ton, of Safety Bay, 15, rep­re­sent WA at the 2017 ASICS Aus­tralian...

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