Tina?s big chance
By GREG WHITE
FROM her first day at Sandy Beach Primary School, Tina Sherratt has loved running.
A dozen years later and the now John Paul College student is a real chance of winning the Australian All Schools under 17, 800 metre title.
"Only four girls in the country can run the 800 in around 2-10.00," Tina mentioned.
"As I'm one of those girls, it gives me a great opportunity to medal."
Tina will contest the first round of the 800 metres at the Homebush Olympic Stadium tomorrow with the final scheduled for Saturday.
She has two distance events on her schedule.
"I'm also entered for the 1500 metres," she said, but in this event, she'll have to shave her time dramatically to make an impact.
Her best run for the distance is 4-34.00, 13 seconds better than the mark required to qualify.
But competing in open event carnivals against older opponents has given her a glimpse at how much further she'll have to trim her times.
"In one Brisbane race, the winner came in at 4-16.00," she said.
"As she's been pushing for the Commonwealth Games it shows how much faster I have to go."
While she may be quietly spoken, Tina won't deny her goal of reaching the top in athletics.
"When I leave school, I want to see how far I can go," she said.
"Thanks to my family support the dream might become reality."
It will mean shifting from Coffs Harbour.
Already, she's checking out what it takes to be invited to the Australian Institute of Sport.
And she's learned the hard way, nothing will come easily.
"The family has to travel to the Gold Coast every second week so I can compete," she said.
"As well as the physical effort you must be mentally strong."
Despite the sacrifices, Tina has found rewards.
A third placing in the Under 20 National 800m final against the best of her age from Australia and New Zealand.
And a win and third placing in the 1500m at the Catholic Schools state carnival.
"Most people eventually concentrate on one distance, but for the moment I'll stay with both," she said.
"The 1500m is a difficult challenge as you must stay focussed while setting the tactics and tricks.
"I've won and lost races at that distance because of the mental approach."
For the moment, her aim is doing well at Homebush.
"A lot of people have helped me get there," Tina said.
"Running at my best for them, as well as myself, is all I want to do."