Schoolboy Steven Solomon to contest Australian Open championships
By Nicole Jeffery
April 09, 2011
ATHLETICS: Sydney schoolboy Steven Solomon has made a late decision to contest next week's Australian open championships after downing all of Australia's leading 400m runners during the domestic season.
The established national team members, including Ben Offereins, Sean Wroe and Kevin Moore, all Commonwealth Games gold medallists in the 4x400m last year, will be wary of the teenager who burst on to the national scene by beating them all at the Melbourne Track Classic last month.
Solomon, a Year 12 student at Cranbrook, had initially decided not to contest the national trials because he did not believe he could juggle national team duties with his studies this year.
But he has reconsidered after assurances from his teachers that he will not miss anything important if he's away during the national championships in Melbourne next weekend, or during the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, on August 27-24 (provided he makes the national team).
"After doing well in the grand prix meets, I think it would be a great opportunity to run through the rounds in Melbourne and get some more experience," Solomon said.
But the quarter-miler's ambitions run far beyond mere experience. "I am going into this competition with my eye on the gold medal," he said.
"I am 17 so there's nothing I can lose by going out and trying to win it. I will go out and run my own race and see if it comes off."
He will be a genuine contender, given his form during the summer. His winning time in Melbourne last month, a personal best of 46.12sec, still ranks him second in the country this year, behind only defending national champion Offereins, who ran the only sub-46sec time of the summer in Perth last weekend (45.85sec).