Jackson Sharp qualifies for Commonwealth Youth Games

Fit and fast: Jackson Sharp will represent Australia in the 1500m at the Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas in July.

Fit and fast: Jackson Sharp will represent Australia in the 1500m at the Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas in July.

Jackson Sharp has an Olympic dream and he’s putting in the long hours training to make that a reality.

The 16-year-old Wentworth Falls resident is one step closer to wearing the green and gold after qualifying for the Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas in July.

At the Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney in March, Jackson won the mens under 18 1500m in 3:52:38, which assured him a spot on the national team heading to the games.

“I’m pretty excited,” Jackson said. “It should be a great experience.”

His main competition will be fast Kenyans. He plans to stick to them like glue and with a burst of energy near the finish, “kick them down”.

With 300m to go I picked it up and got in front. With 50 [metres] to go I heard the announcer say ‘he’s making a comeback’ and I freaked out. - Jackson Sharp

In the meantime he’ll be focused on reducing his time. His goal: Ryan Gregson’s U18 1500m record of 3:43:84.

“He’s an inspiration for me,” Jackson said.

A Springwood High student, Jackson is coached by Gary Howard and long distance runner and Olympian Ben St Lawrence.

His preparation for the championships hadn’t been ideal after a hamstring injury just weeks earlier. But with a few days rest he was back on track.

In the 1500m race, Jackson said New Zealander Isaiah Priddey took the lead in the first 100m.

Doing battle: New Zealander Isaiah Priddey and Jackson Sharp duel at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships.

Doing battle: New Zealander Isaiah Priddey and Jackson Sharp duel at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships.

“I stuck to him. With 300m to go I picked it up and got in front. With 50 [metres] to go I heard the announcer say ‘he’s making a comeback’ and I freaked out. I did a double kick and kicked away at the end,” Jackson said.

“I’m pretty happy with how it went. I didn’t get boxed in.”

Jackson also competed in the 800m at the championships, placing second behind fellow NSW athlete and five-time winner Jordan Doris.

Jackson’s time of 1:52:91 was a PB of 1.2 seconds.

After the games in July, Jackson’s next big event will be the Australian Cross Country Championships.

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