Ris­ing ath­let­ics star keen to make mark

The Cairns Post - - SPORT - ROWAN SPARKES ed­i­to­[email protected]­spost.com.au face­book.com/TheCairn­sPost www.cairn­spost.com.au twit­ter.com/TheCairn­sPost

ONE of the coun­try’s finest emerg­ing ath­letes will take to Bar­low Park this week­end for the Aus­tralian All Schools Cham­pi­onships.

Sasha Zhoya will be look­ing to get back to the peak of his per­for­mance when he makes his re­turn from in­jury to rep­re­sent Western Aus­tralia at the na­tional youth ath­let­ics com­pe­ti­tion in Cairns.

The 16-year-old of French and Zim­bab­wean her­itage is a triple-threat track and field star, whose main events in­clude the 200m sprint, 110m hur­dle and pole vault.

Zhoya, who will only com­pete in the hur­dle and pole vault events this week­end, said he was ex­cited to be in Cairns.

“I’ve heard good things about Cairns,” he said.

“(Com­mon­wealth Games gold medal­list and train­ing part­ner) Kur­tis Marschall told me that jump­ing con­di­tions are great, which means hur­dle con­di­tions are go­ing to be great as well.

“I’m re­ally keen for the comp and should go well.”

Zhoya has gar­nered na­tion- al and in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion as the Aus­tralian un­der-18s 110m hur­dles record holder (13.24), train­ing un­der Shan­non McCann’s former hur­dle coach Ja­son Moyle.

He has out­stand­ing per­sonal bests in the 100m (10.63), 200m (21.09) and long jump (6.93m).

Zhoya’s pole vault per­sonal best is 5.2m – much higher than the meet’s cur­rent record of 4.85m. He trains un­der three-time Olympian Paul Burgess and Alex Parnov, former coach of Olympic gold medal­list Steve Hooker.

Zhoya said get­ting back into train­ing after the break had been “dif­fi­cult”, but he was “in a good shape for com­pe­ti­tion”.

“I’ve been keep­ing the loads not too heavy so I don’t get my back pop­ping up again, but still at a de­cent amount so I can get some im­prove­ments through­out the sea­son,” he said.

Coach Burgess said he was aware of the re­gion’s re­cent soar­ing tem­per­a­tures.

“It gets pretty hot in Perth, but it’s a dif­fer­ent kind of heat,” he said. “It will be a shock to us for sure.”

Pic­ture: ANNA ROGERS

ON TRACK: Western Aus­tralian pole vaulter and hur­dler Sasha Zhoya has re­turned from a break to com­pete in Cairns this week­end.

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