Sprinting star aims to qualify for world championships
By TANYA PAOLUCCI
08 Mar, 2011
For Bendigo athlete Sophie Taylor, the saying “every second counts” isn’t exactly the case.
While seconds are important for any sprinter, the 15-year-old is now more focused on shaving every one-hundredth of a second she can off her 100 metre personal best time to put herself in contention to compete on the world stage.
Although Taylor blitzed the field with an astonishing 11.73 second time in the 100 metre sprint event at the Victorian championships on Sunday, a +2.8 wind assistance meant her new personal best time could not be recorded.
Taylor, whose best time before last weekend’s event was 11.97 seconds, needs to clock a sprint of 11.9 seconds or less to reach the world qualification time.
The Catholic College Bendigo student said Sunday’s run was a career best performance.
“I finished the race and I didn’t know what time I ran,’’ Taylor said.
“So I went back to my coach and he said I ran 11.74 and I was like “oh my god!”
“That is so much faster than any time I’ve ever run in my life.”
Taylor said she could have clocked the world qualifying time with less wind assistance.
“Even if it was a tailwind of two I probably would have got the qualifying time, which really sucks, but I think I should be able to get it,” she said.
Taylor will get her chance to prove she can run a world qualifying time this weekend at the Australian Junior Championships at Sydney’s Olympic Park.
The teenager will need to run both a heat and final race time of 11.9 or less and finish in the top two placings to be considered for selection for the Australian team for the World Youth Championships in Lille, France later this year.
Taylor said clocking a world qualifying time and earning selection for the World Youth Championships is not going to be easy.
“You can never expect too much at nationals,’’ she said.
“I know a few of the girls so I know the final will be really close, but it really will depend on who is up and who is not on the day.
“I have to get two qualifiers, so I’m trying to get a qualifier in both the heat and final this weekend and I have to come first or second to get any chance of selection for the World Youth Championships.
“If someone has a qualifier and they win the race they still might not go, so the selections are really hard.”
Taylor has already had a taste of world standard competition, having raced against Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist Sally Pearson at a national relay camp in Hobart earlier this year.
“I was so nervous racing against Sally,” Taylor said.
“I was in Tassie for a relay camp and there was an A, B and C race.
“I thought I’d be in the B race because that’s where all my friends were, but then I found out in was in the A race against Sally and I was so worried I was going to get killed in the race.
“The difference in the race felt quite big.
“When she finished the race I felt like I still had 15 metres to go, but the difference wasn’t that big.”
While Taylor hopes to follow in the footsteps of Pearson and compete at a Commonwealth level, she said she wants to focus on smaller goals first.
“My first goal is that I want to represent Australia in individual events,’’ she said.
“If I don’t make it to the world youth’s in France then my back up is the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Isle of Man at the end of the year.
“It’s hard enough to make an Australian team at all, so if I make it to that level I’ll probably aim to compete in something like the Commonwealth Games.
“It’s going to be hard though, especially for sprinters in Australia because there aren’t many.”
I don't know if young Sophie Taylor has run in the VAL this season, but her impressive win at Ballarat last April was just a glimpse of what this young girl was capable of. On the weekend she won the Vic Open 100m title against some very handy opposition. Great to see a young girl from regional Victoria mixing it with the state's best.