Athletics: World champ Caytlyn

Caytlyn Sharp has been crowned a world champion at the INAS Athletics Championships in Thailand after winning gold in high jump and bronze in triple jump.

SUCCESSFUL: Young Caytlyn Sharp will return to Australia as a world champion after winning gold in high jump. Picture: Sports Inclusion Australia

SUCCESSFUL: Young Caytlyn Sharp will return to Australia as a world champion after winning gold in high jump. Picture: Sports Inclusion Australia

The 14-year-old Eureka Athletic Club member competed in the T20 open category of the championships, which is run by the international federation for sport for para-athletes with an intellectual disability. 

In her high jump event, Caytlyn recorded a jump of one metre, 41 centimetres to break the Australian under 16-18-20 record and be just three centimetres off her personal best. 

But mother Cindy Sharp, who stayed behind in Australia, said Caytlyn had little time to celebrate, having to compete in her 100-metre semi final straight after her high jump.

“I only got to speak to her for about 30 seconds after she won the high jump and she just said, ‘I can’t believe it mum, I’ve gold medalled for Australia’,” Ms Sharp said.

In her triple jump, Ms Sharp said Caytlyn was the youngest competitor by about 10 years and was “absolutely ecstatic” to get bronze, especially after what she had considered to be “not her best jump”. 

“To go into triple jump and medal against people who have been training for a really long time made it extra special,” Ms Sharp said. 

Ms Sharp described the past few days as a “steep learning curve” for Caytlyn.

It is her first overseas trip and only the second time she has travelled without her family, following the Australian All Schools Championships in Canberra last year. 

Caytlyn has also found it difficult contending with the heat and humidity while racing, and having extra events added to her program.

But she has had the support of Sports Inclusion Australia, with a team of staff and coaches, all experienced in dealing with intellectual disability, having travelled with the team of athletes. 

Now Caytlyn is excited to bring the medals back home to show her family and friends. 

“We are pretty stoked, we definitely didn’t expect it,” Ms Sharp said of Caytlyn’s achievement.

“To know that she has represented Australia is pretty special. 

“But to actually think she has won gold and bronze for Australia is something that not a lot of parents get to experience, so it is a pretty awe-inspiring feeling.”

Caytlyn has also finished fifth in the 100-metre final and will compete in the long jump and, her favourite event, the 200-metre race.