EMERGING athlete Harry Sharp is charging towards the Australian Junior Track and Field Championships.
The 13-year-old is in hot form, coming off two brilliant performances during February’s junior state titles, in which he took out both the under-15 1500 metres and 3000m events.
Sharp recorded a brilliant time of 9:27.90 in the longer race.
Athletics coach Neville Down, who took Sharp under his wing just over a year ago, said the young gun was hitting the upcoming nationals – which kick off in Perth on Tuesday – with real momentum.
“We've looked at the results achieved in other states and he's certainly in medal contention in the three kilometre,” Down said.
“But it wouldn't surprise me if he got medals in both. Anything can happen at nationals but his performances and training indicate he is in medal contention.”
Sharp, who is in year seven at St Patrick’s College and trains with Wendouree Athletic Club, was arguably the standout Ballarat runner at the state championships.
According to Down, it was hard not to be impressed watching Sharp run at the event.
“For a young man only in year seven, his times were outstanding,” Down said.
“The commentator made mention that this young athlete is a ‘sweet mover’ – some athletes make it look easy and Harry just floats along. He has a very smooth, relaxed, lovely style and displays great technique.”
Down also revealed that Sharp is just as disciplined and hard-working as he is talented.
“He’s a very determined athlete,” Sharp said.
“He's meticulous in his preparation, he is committed and he is consistent.
“He enjoys training, he's always enthusiastic. He’s attentive, he always listens and he regularly asks questions, which indicates to me that he wants to get the most out of his training, which I encourage.
“He's a pleasure to coach.”
Sharp will be one of a dozen athletes making the long trip to Western Australia for the nationals.
He will be travelling with fellow Wendouree runners Matthew Catterson, Sam Williams and Nicholas Fidler, all of whom are similarly coached by Down and are also current state champions.
Sharp trains regularly with Williams and Fidler, which Down said had helped propel the youngster to greater heights.
“They have inspired each other and the group dynamics tend to lift each other,” Down said.
“They’re older than him but they’re outstanding athletes in their own right and fantastic role models. He idolises them.
“He's getting better, he's chasing them and he's winning as a result of trying to emulate them.”
All four of the Wendouree athletes will be staying together during the championships, which run until Sunday, March 13.
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