Beerwah triple jumper forced to go long for Australia
SEVENTEEN-year-old Rowan Sutton almost cried when his Australia uniform for the 2015 Youth Commonwealth Games arrived in the post last week.
That's how passionate the Beerwah teen is about representing his country for the first time at a major event.
Sutton is the national under-18 triple jump champion, but will have to settle for long jump as the triple is not being held at the games.
That has not dented his enthusiasm, however, and he says he is on track to peak just in time for the Games.
"It's been my goal ever since I was a little kid (to represent Australia)," he said.
"It's everything ... I'm so keen to go."
An athletics competitor since under-9s, Sutton is arguably in career-best form for the Games, which start on September 5.
He has been jumping 6.8m from a three-quarter run-up - only 10cm below his average 6.9m jump of the past three months, ranking him third in Australia for the long jump.
Not long after he first started out, Sutton was ranked in the top six for the 100m sprint - an event that directly correlates with the long jump - but as other kids matured he lost his edge and the triple jump became his focus.
Unfortunately for Sutton, the Samoan track where the Games will be held has only one sand pit and it has been designated for the long jump.
Rowan said the lack of facilities was "a bit stupid" and he speculated on the triple jump's future as an Olympic sport.
"I don't know why we couldn't just do the two events on different days," he said.
"General talk among trainers is they're trying to phase triple jump out of the Olympics, which would be disappointing."