16 Oct 2018
Silver lining for Jaylah in Buenos Aires
NSW South Coast distance runner, Jaylah Hancock-Cameron has won silver with two outstanding performances at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires this week.
Hancock-Cameron is one of five NSW athletes who have been competing in the third Youth Olympics Games (under-18 age athletes) in Argentina. The format for her was rather unique. At the Games, athletes are able to compete twice with both performances added togther, then ranked to allocate medals. In the track and field events it is the total time, or total distance, but for athletes running the 1500m or above, they competed once on the track and the second event was a cross country.
Jaylah Hancock-Cameron (BAN) kicked off her two-race program with an outstanding personal best of 4:18.44 in the 1500m. Her second place, putting her in a strong position to medal. After some cool daily temperatures in the mid-teens, the thermometer rose to a very warm 29 degrees, a challenge for the cross-country competitors on day five of the athletics competition.
In addition to the weather Hancock-Cameron had the challenge of the course.
“It was bumpy all the way around and towards one of the back corners there was sand, so you had to take that a bit slower so you didn’t slip,” she said. “It was hard on your legs, but I was thinking it would be harder than it actually was.”
But she was equal to the challenge, competitive with dozens of Africans, placing fourth, and overall ranking second, to clinch a silver medal.
Also competing in the cross country, was team mate Luke Young (Newcastle Flyers). He had run a solid run of 3:55.28 in the 1500m to be ranked seventh overall. In the cross country he finished 26th amongst the 1500m/3000m/steeplechase athletes. Overall he finished an impressive fifth, a highly commendable performance.
After the race, Young revealed a little Australian advantange engineered by team coach Ben Norton.
“We ran on it (the course) on a few days giving us an advantage over other athletes.”
On Sunday morning, Anthony Vlatko (RBH) made his international debut clocking 1:51.34 in the 800m for fourth place. It was an impressive start as he had been battling a hamstring issue. On Tuesday morning he raced in stage 2/final of the event. He had been seeded into the top heat with a Turkish athlete and six Africans. He had a real crack in the race, leading most of the first lap. He eventually finished eighth in 1:54.34 and overall was also eight.
“I wanted to made top-8 so I achieved my goal, but unfortunately the final didn’t go as I wanted it too,” he said.
After a challenging build up and battling terrible weather conditions on Friday morning, Keegan Bell (CBT) lined up in his 400m heat clocking 49.58. He returned Monday morning for stage 2 where he placed third clocking an improved 49.05 to rank ninth overall at the Games.
In a high standard discus event, Sally Shokry (HIL) compiled two good competitions. After hitting 44.56m in stage 1, she bumped that up to 46.79m for eight and 10th overall. Her PBs over the last two years are just shy of Dani Stevens distances at the same age, indicating great potential.
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Jaylah Hancock-Cameron in the cross country (image courtesy of IOC Information services)