Trio of athletes chasing national junior championship glory

March 10, 2018

Raring to go: Kyle Murphy (left), Antonio Vaitohi and Gretel Holmes will give it their all at next week's Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney.

Three Shepparton athletes will take on the best Oceania has to offer next week.

While Antonio Vaitohi, Gretel Holmes and Kyle Murphy will be competing for Victoria at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships, athletes from across the globe can take part in the event.

‘‘Australian Junior Championships are not only for Australians, it’s actually international, so other countries can be invited,’’ Vaitohi said.

‘‘Occasionally you’ll get Fijian athletes, Chinese or some from all around the world and that makes it a bit more tricky.

‘‘But it makes me feel more veteran in that way having not just the Australian athletes but athletes from all over the world come over.’’

Vaitohi will be looking to turn his form at last year’s championships — where he won the under-15 100m and 200m events — into another river of gold in the same under-16 races, along with relays.

‘‘It’s a bit more serious for me, it’s my second year and the first year I took it out so the target is on my back,’’ he said.

‘‘The championships can be used to qualify for any big meets like Junior Commonwealth Games, so any athlete looking to qualify there can do it at this meet.’’

For Holmes, the March 14 to 18 championships at Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre are a chance to test herself at the national level in the under-15 high jump.

‘‘There was a Victorian Junior Championships last week and I got second in high jump so the top three qualify through,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m very excited.’’

Murphy is the most seasoned of the trio and will compete in his favoured long and triple jump events.

The rising star has been busy finalising preparations for a looming college stint at Harvard and will try to use event as a springboard towards qualifying for the under-20 World Championships.

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