Western Australian athletes Sophie White (100mH) and Thomas Throssell (400mH) have been selected to represent Australia at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, South America later this year.
The duo, coached by National Junior Coach Lyn Foreman, travelled to Vanuatu for the Oceania Melanesian Regional Championships to fulfil the selection criteria for the Youth Olympics team, and won gold in their respective events.
With only 13 members selected in the Australian team, it was a huge achievement for the two athletes and their coach to be recognised as some of Australia’s brightest talent in track and field. The Western Australian athletics community will watch on with excitement as they cross the globe to compete against the world’s best from the 6th-18th of October 2018.
For Thomas, selection capped off a stellar season on the track, setting a new personal best and State Record in the U18 400mH in January this year. The time stood for a short while as the World U18 Lead, which Thomas says was motivating.
“I knew once the European season was underway it would fall down a few ranks, [but] it was the first time I realised that there were guys around the globe running exactly the same race that I could actually be competitive against.”
Sophie continued her record-breaking form from last season, cementing her status as one of Australia’s best junior athletes. She describes her selection as a career highlight to date, right next to equalling Sally Pearson’s U18 Australian 100mH record earlier this year, and looks forward to this next challenge.
“I had been aiming to achieve the record since first starting 100m hurdles, so when I ran the time it ticked off a huge goal of mine! I’m really looking forward to competing on a brand new track against the worlds best junior athletes, as well as experiencing what Buenos Aires has to offer,” Sophie said.
Sophie and Thomas continue their final preparations in Perth under coach Lyn Foreman.
“I’m having to throw in as many simulation [competitions] as possible before I leave, and balancing that with school athletics and Year 12 study is definitely a huge task. That said, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it’ll be worth it when I look back at the end of the year,” Thomas describes of his current training regime.
Sophie is working to improve her race to knock as many hundredths of a second off the clock as possible in Buenos Aires.
“I’m training just as I would for the competition season but I’m really working hard on correcting parts of my race.”
In 2020, Sophie and Thomas will be eligible to vie for selection for the IAAF World Junior Championships and both athletes have this next goal in their sights, but in the meantime are firmly focused on their next big race.
“The competition is going to be at the forefront of my mind. Being able to test myself in a true international championship at this age will be incredible, especially if I can place,” Thomas said.
On behalf of the WA athletics community, we congratulate Sophie, Thomas and Lyn and wish them all the best for the Games.