Laura?s Beijing goal
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
IT'S been a heady period in the life of young Nambucca Heads sprinter Laura Duncan.
In November, the 16 year-old convincingly won the Macksville Women's Gift in her first professional race before heading to Melbourne for the Pacific School Games.
In difficult conditions, Duncan ran 24.53 seconds in the final of the 15-16 years 200 metres which was good enough for her to collect a bronze medal in the international meet.
To complete her hat-trick of fantastic performances, last weekend Duncan won three gold medals at the National All Schools Championships in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay.
Although delighted to be able to show off the spoils of victory, it was the beating the qualifying mark for the World Junior Championships to be held in Beijing in August that pleased Duncan the most.
"I did a qualifying time for that but you've got to be in the top two in the qualifying times and I'm about fourth at the moment out of the girls that have done it," she explained.
"I haven't done the 100 yet, that's my next goal."
Duncan has predicted a lot of hard work over the coming months with her coach Harry Riley to help her reach her goal of grabbing a spot on the team heading to Beijing.
"We're going to have a sit down and have a talk about it because obviously I've just got back and I've had a huge year," she said.
"I'm going to have to have a short break and get back into it early next year to train and try and get that time down."
The national schools champion is the first to admit that there are areas that she needs to improve in to help her attain the goal of getting her times down.
"My speed probably could improve a bit, my starts are really good but my finishes, the end half of my races isn't as good as it could be."
"I've been training really hard but this would be the ultimate, a huge goal of mine to get there.
"Probably early next year we'll be heading to a couple of competitions in Sydney or the Gold Coast area to see if I can get that time down."
Duncan was probably being a bit too critical on herself when saying that her ability to finish off a race required tinkering because it was her 200 meter victory at the All Schools over the ACT's Angeline Blackburn that proved the Nambucca Heads High student has a fair amount of courage to go with her obvious natural ability.
"At the top of the straight there was a girl from the ACT right next to me, she trains at the AIS camp," Duncan recalled of the race.
"I raced her last year and she beat me so I kind of knew who she was but there weren't any heats so I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know how she was running or anything.
"We were right next to each other, she was probably in front of me and she's a 400m runner so she should have the strength at the end but I overtook her."
It's that sort of work ethic both on and off the track that has this sprinter headed for a life in the fast lane.