Tina driven to succeed
NEW South Wales Institute of Sport distance coach Di Huxley has worked with many of Australia's elite track stars and knows a thing or two about what it takes to reach the top.
So when she says John Paul College student Tina Sherratt is showing the mental qualities evident in our elite track athletes, it is a big wrap.
"The top athletes are all intrinsically driven, not by outside factors like glamour, money or medals; it is something they want to do personally," Huxley said.
"Tina is very self-motivated and does everything I ask.
"She is the perfect example of how (young) athletes can progress if they follow programs, train hard and respect and understand their coaches."
In 2004, Tina has clocked up hundreds of kilometres on the training track and it has paid rich rewards.
Tina, 15, claimed silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 800m at the recent NSW All Schools athletics championships and has now set her sights on the national championships at Homebush stadium next month.
"At All Schools last year, I won the 1500m and finished second in the 800m, but I knew it would be different this time because all the top girls were there," she said.
Winning medals hasn't been Tina's prime ambition this year.
"My goal this year has been to run personal best times," she said.
Tina knows a personal best time will be required if she is to achieve a long-term goal, which has eluded her.
"I have gone to nationals since I was nine but I have never quite got a gold medal," she said.
"I've always come close or been injured.
"(Winning national gold) has been a goal for a long time."
There has never been a better time than this year for Tina to perform on the national stage.
"These Nationals are really important because selectors will be there for the Youth Olympics," Tina said.
"I will taper for nationals and I have been a bit more dedicated in my training."
Huxley, who is based in Sydney, has been charting Tina's progress for the past year and likes what she has seen.
"She is up there in Coffs Harbour on her own, but she manages better than most of the ones I have down here," she said.
But Huxley is also quick to point out there is a long way to go for Tina.
"I never want to put pressure on young athletes," she said. "It is still too early to tell (whether Tina can go all the way).
"She is only 15 and it is too difficult to predict, you have to go slowly with them at this age and be patient. The next few years will tell."