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Youth Olympians breaking records

17 July 2014

ATHLETICS: Taking out first place in an event can mean the world to an athlete - but setting a new record in the process is another story.

Two Australian Youth Olympic hurdlers have been able to achieve just that.

Rachel Pace and Nick Andrews took to the track in the hurdles at the 2014 Down Under Championships on the Gold Coast, and they both sent a message that they will mean business at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in August.

“I was hoping to run a fast time in my race but I wasn't expecting to break the record,” Pace said.

“My reaction after finding out that I broke the record was excitement and shock.”

Sixteen-year-old Pace lined up in the women’s 16-17 100m hurdles and looked strong every time she left the blocks.

In her preliminary race she clocked a 13.65 sec run, smashing the previous record of 14.09 sec set by Olympic Champion Sally Pearson back in 2002.

Pearson, a two-time Olympic medallist, won silver in Beijing and gold in London in the women’s 100m hurdles.

“I was extremely excited that I broke the record especially because it was Sally's old record,” Pace said.

“While I was racing I knew that I was having a good run. My speed into each hurdle was very well timed and I was extremely happy with how my technique held up over all of the hurdles."

In the final Pace clocked 13.81 sec to win gold.

Nick Andrews, who trains with Pace, also pulled off a record breaking performance in his event.

Running in the men’s 16-17 110m hurdles, Andrews was up against a decade-old record of 14.03 sec, a time he wasn’t quite able to match in his preliminary race.

It wasn’t until the 17-year-old lined up in the final that he found another gear. He recorded a time of 13.96 sec, making him the new record holder.

“Coming out of the blocks I felt really good because it was a thousand times better than my start in the heats,” Andrews said.

“In the final part of my race I was focused on not backing off, so I pumped my arms harder to keep my pace up.”

Ahead of the YOG any winning performance bodes extremely well, but to be breaking records just one month out from the Games means a medal is certainly in reach.

“I was really happy with my time, I am where I need to be in the months before the YOG,” Andrews said.

“My training so far has paid off and I have worked on my main weaknesses, meaning that I can now focus on smaller technical faults in my race.”

Andrews and Pace are part of a 20-strong athletics team heading to the YOG and a greater Australian Youth Olympic Team of 89.

The second summer Youth Olympic Games commence in Nanjing, China on Saturday 16 August and run for 12 days.

Sam Rawlings


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