Hawks Nest sprinter Keira McGregor headed for big things on the track

Keira and her coach Gerrard have taken to the sand dunes for training.

 

FORMER Australian Champion sprinter Gerrard Keating has tipped a young Hawks Nest athlete to make it to the very top in her sport.

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Mr Keating has all the credentials to make the claim, having competed for his country at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships in the mid-eighties.

The former Australian 100m record holder is now training 14-year-old Keira McGregor, and the Myall Coast local is in the form of her life.

Despite her young age, Keira has already overcome significant setbacks in her sprinting career, including a severe back injury which kept her from training for eight months.

“The injury put her out for a long time which was really hard for Keira because she just loves the sport. Her last competitive race before her injury she won a silver medal at Nationals.”

Mr Keating said Keira’s attitude during her comeback from injury had convinced him she was destined for greatness on the track.

“She came back to training and had to start from scratch. She was suddenly getting beaten by people who would normally finish 10 metres behind her,” said Mr Keating.

“I thought that that would really knock her around, but she kept coming back for extra competitions.

“She kept fronting up and training hard. That really impressed me more than her national silver medal.”

Mr Keating told News Of The Area how impressed he was with the young sprinter’s dedication to training.

“This training period of 6 or 7 months, Kiera has been on a mission and it’s amazing to see.

“Anyone can say they want to go to the Olympics or be the best they can be, but actions speak louder than words.

“It’s the one percent of extra work you do that makes the difference. Kiera is doing that extra work every single day.

“She is absolutely flying.”

In a normal year, NSW State Titles would have been held this month, and have been pencilled in to take place in November.

Both Keira and her coach are desperate for the event to go ahead.

“I am praying that they go ahead because she is ready to do something really special.

“I can’t see any 14-year-old in this country getting anywhere near her right now.”

Mr Keating believes Keira has all the tools to make it onto the world stage.

“This is a testament to her and to her drive and will.

“She really wants to get as far as she possibly can.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Keira will be running in the Olympic games one day,” he said.

Keira found a love for the sport after joining Little Athletics in Hawks Nest at age five.

“I really enjoyed it and started competing very early on. I joined a local coach at about 7 years and have never lost my love for athletics,” she said.

Keira has enjoyed the challenge of working under Mr Keating.

“Gerrard is enjoyable to train under but can be very strict when I don’t do things correctly. He knows so much about the history of the sport and encourages me all the time. He really pushes me to get the best I can possibly do.”

For such a young competitor, Keira’s career has been packed with highlights.

“I was selected to be part of the NSW team to go to Adelaide and compete in the Pacific School Games in 2017. I came second in the long jump and was a member of the 4x100m relay team who won and broke the record time!

“In the Australian National championships in 2019, I came second in the 13 years 100m sprint and was again a member of the NSW 4x100m relay team who won gold,” said Keira.

The pair have spent the last week training in Hawks Nest, taking advantage of the area’s sand dunes to take a break from track training.

“We have been training on the sand. I like it on the sand to give that little bit of resistance for them.

“It has been great to have an opportunity to come up and do some one on one training with Keira.”

 

By Doug CONNOR

 

Keira in full flight.

 

Keira taking on the dunes.

 

Hard at work.

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