Sophie Taylor, second from right, competes in her heat
of the women’s 100m at the Commonwealth Youth Games.
By NATHAN DOLE
13 Sep, 2011
BENDIGO teenager Sophie Taylor sizzled in the freezing conditions as she won bronze in the 4 x 100m relay and contested the 100m and 200m finals at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man.
Taylor, 16, capped her first international meet representing Australia by contesting three rounds in the sprint duels across three days.
The Eaglehawk YMCA Athletics Club member clocked a time of 11.98 in the women’s 100m semi-final.
Driving rain and strong winds made it touch for track and field’s rising stars from around the world.
In the 100m final, Taylor was fifth in 12.13 seconds.
The sprinting star’s 200m semi-final was run in a 6m wind, which swept across the track.
Taylor clocked 24.62 to be fourth in the 200m final.
A Games highlight was the bronze medal-winning feat in the 4 x 100m relay, which was won by Canada ahead of England.
Taylor’s coach, Eaglehawk-based Terry Hicks was rapt with her Games’ performances.
“Racing conditions were really tough,” Hicks said.
“The temperature was never above 15 degrees and there was a lot of rain.
“Sophie was racing a lot of athletes from the northern hemisphere who are at the tailend of their season.
“Despite those odds and a preparation interrupted by hamstring and calf problems, Sophie raced extremely well in her heats and finals.”
The Commonwealth Youth Games was a crucial step in the Catholic College Bendigo student’s step towards her ultimate goal – Olympic Games selection.
The sprinting star’s training will be geared toward a return around Christmas-New Year and contesting the Victoria Country championsips in Bendigo on the Australia Day holiday weekend in January.
“Sophie will also be aiming to race at the junior nationals, and possibly the Olympic trials,” Hicks said.
Highs of the 2010-11 track season included winning the Australian under-18 100m and 200m sprint crowns and the Victorian open 100m.
Taylor’s feats earned the Maxine Crouch Trust Fund in the Bendigo Advertiser-WIN Television Sports Star of the Year for 2010-11.
Taylor and pole vaulter Madeline Lawson were March winners for this year’s Sports Star, which is sponsored by mecu.
In July, the year 10 student raced at the schools knockout cup world championships in Poland with the Catholic College Bendigo team.