Four Lower River teenagers will be heading off to compete at the Combined High Schools (CHS) athletic championships, which will be held at Homebush in Sydney, on 7-9 September.
Maclean’s veteran track and field athlete Tom Hancock (80), has been coaching young athletes in the lower river, for around 14 years.
This year, Lizzy Hyne (16), Rhiannah Woods (13), Kalani Mooney (13) and Alyssa Luland (15), have all qualified to compete in NSW championships.
Lizzy Hyne, who has been involved in athletics most of her life said that she started out in ‘Little Athletics’, at the age of six.
“This will be my fourth year competing at state level, said Lizzy.
“I came 4th in the state last year in javelin and hopefully I can make it into the top three this year, as I would like to reach national level.
“I love the challenge of competing and the adrenalin rush – after the event, not before,” she said.
Rhiannah Woods said that she has been coached by Tom Hancock for the last year and a half and trains three times a week.
“I have previously competed in discus, however I only compete in javelin and shot now,” she said.
Kalani Woods has enjoyed competing at state level for the last two years in shot and javelin.
“Out of 42 competitors last year, I came ninth,” he said.
“My goal is to one day win at state level and eventually national level in both (shot and javelin).”
For Alyssa Luland this will be her sixth year of competing at state level.
Alyssa said that she hopes to better herself and her placing this year.
“Last year was the first year that I’d competed in javelin and I came ninth,” she said.
“This is the first year that I’ve qualified in all three events (javelin, shot and discus).”
The young athletes could not have a more experienced coach, than Tom Hancock.
Mr Hancock said that he has coached Olympians, world championship athletes along with the Commonwealth Games gold medallist back in 1994, in Canada.
“So I’ve been around coaching for a while,” said Mr Hancock.
“This is where it all starts.
“You’ve got to have good coaching right from the start to learn the proper techniques and stand.
“You’ve got to get the dynamics right,” he said.
The results can be seen, with this year’s young qualifying athletes.
Alyssa and Lizzy, have managed javelin throws of 33 metres and 35 metres respectively.
“Alyssa has also thrown the discus 32 metres, which is the best in the group, ever.” Said Mr Hancock.
While some coaches charge a lot of money to share their expertise, Mr Hancock chooses to do it for free.
“I do it because I want to see them do well,” he said.
All four athletes expressed their gratefulness to their coach, for offering to train them.
“He does this voluntarily, out of kindness and never charges us anything,” said one of the athletes.