Diamond Valley Athletic Club junior distance runner, Jaryd Clifford, 15, has made his first steps toward selection for the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championship.
The young vision-impaired athlete, classified as T12, undertook his first 5000m race at the Victorian Country Championships in Bendigo this week, with a view to attaining a qualifying standard for the World Championships.
But hot conditions, with a strong headwind down the home straight, didn’t make the task an easy one for Clifford. After setting the pace for the first lap, and staying clear of any trouble in a field of 21 runners, Clifford covered the first kilometre in 3min 07sec.
He then settled into the task of maintaining a pace that would earn him a B qualifying time of 16min 27.46sec or better. Over the final kilometre, Clifford returned his fastest split of 3min 05sec.
And, he crossed the line in 16min 21.23sec, well inside the B qualifier for Doha. Clifford finished in second place in the men’s under-20 field and will next race the 5000m at the Victorian Junior Championships in February.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Jarrod Woods was another Diamond Valley junior athlete to make an important breakthrough over the past week. With a previous best time of 2min 01sec for the 800m, Woods posted two runs under the two-minute mark in the space of six days.
The first came at the midweek Victorian Milers Club meet at Box Hill, where Woods smashed through the two minutes to finish in 1min 59.2sec. Then, in Bendigo, Woods charged home to win the under-18 race in 1min 59.96sec.
Lara Kolar, 16, finished second in both the women’s under-18 1500m and 800m events. Kolar’s time of 4min 45.87sec in the 1500m was inside the qualifying time for the Australian Junior Championships and her best in recent times. In the 800m, Kolar finished with a time of 2min 16.61sec.
Victorian Junior Championships entries close this Sunday 1 February at 11:59pm.
Words: Diamond Valley Leader – Max Balchin