Coffs Girl conquers world in Cali

Hayley racing for Australia, earlier this year. Photo: supplied.

AS athletics fans from across the Commonwealth focussed their eyes on the Birmingham games earlier this month, a young Aussie star was also lighting up the track at the World Junior Athletics Championships in Cali, Columbia.

Coffs Harbour’s Hayley Kitching finished seventh in the world in the 800-metre race, as she ran the two fastest times of her career in the semis and the final of the competition.

The promising young athlete said the week in the South American country was unlike anything she’d experienced in her career, “The atmosphere was absolutely amazing, it was a huge stadium,” she said.

“When we got there, there were hundreds of athletes from all different countries.

“When I was racing, there were so many people in the crowd, it was beyond anything I’d ever experienced before.”

Aside from the nerves from such an occasion, Hayley started brightly, finishing third in her heat to automatically qualify for the semi-finals, “I felt really good in the heat, I led the first 200 and backed off at the end.”

She then turned in her performance of the tournament in the semis, matching the best in the game, “The semis were a lot faster; no one was messing around,” she said.

“It was crazy fast; I ran a 2:02 in that race which was a personal best, I was really stoked with that because it meant I made the final on time.”

She then recorded her second fastest career time of 2:03 in the final, finishing in seventh place, a feat that had Athletics Australia dubbing the teen a “certified star”.

“I just did everything that I could’ve, and to make the final I was so stoked.

“Coming into the competition, I would’ve been happy to make the semi-final, but to make the final and to be top eight in the world, there are no words to describe how happy I am.”

For now, the year 12 student is back into her studies at Coffs Harbour Senior College, focussing on completing her HSC before beginning a scholarship in the US next year.

“I’ve got to knuckle down, study, and finish the HSC this year,” she said.

“Next year I’m off to Penn State for school so I’ll be able to train with the track team over there.

“Me and Dad have also been talking about hopefully making it to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, but my next goal in the 800 is to break the two minutes.”

One thought on “Coffs Girl conquers world in Cali

Leave a Reply