Bright future ahead for young Toronto runner
20 Apr, 2011
FOUR hundred metres in less than 56 seconds was Tia O'Carroll's plan.
Despite her recent change from distance to sprint, Tia had high hopes to run a personal best and prove herself as a 400m sprinter.
And as an athlete competing at the Australian Athletics Championships, held in Melbourne last weekend, April 15 to 17, Tia knew she had to aim high.
However, Tia's plan didn't play out the way she wanted, placing fifth in her heat with a time of 57.7 seconds.
While it was not what she hoped for, in cold conditions and up against the likes of Tamsyn Lewis, Tia made it onto the radar of Athletics NSW.
Approached at the championships, Tia was told she had performed well in her new race and that she should set her sights on the World Junior Athletics Championships in Barcelona next year.
The 16-year-old former 800m specialist changed her race and her tactics just four months ago and already has set herself a goal to qualify for the worlds.
To do that Tia has to rank the fastest in her age group in Australia and run a time of 55.2 seconds.
And it is doable for the Toronto athlete.
Only last month Tia came fourth at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in the 400m, winning her heat with a personal best time of 56.08 seconds.
It is safe to say Tia's decision to change to sprints is paying off with a lot of hard work.
After testing the 400m at last year's Australian Junior Athletics Championships, Tia has not looked back.
With the change of race came a change of coach and she now trains six times a week, including speed, endurance work and gym, under the guidance of coach, Tony Fairweather, of Glendale.
Her commitment has already seen her shave two seconds off her personal best.
Despite her recent race change, Tia says she struggled more with the 800m race then she does with the 400ms.
"I like it [the 400m] because it's your race - you have your own lane and you can run it your way," Tia said.
She will now have a couple of weeks off training before she gets back on the track.