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Young athletes invited to Jump to London

YOUNG athletes participating in the Indigenous Athletic Development Camp beginning tomorrow will be invited to set their sights on making the Olympic track and field team in 2012.

Centred at Joe Donovan Sports Complex in Stuarts Points and Scotts Head Christian Youth Centre, the four-day camp will offer an opportunity to apply for the Jump Start to London Program, designed to increase the number of Indigenous athletes heading to the Games of the XXX Olympiad while building up the number of coaches in the network.

The organiser of this week's activities, Richie Donovan, said an army of athletes and coaches will be in attendance to provide special guidance and mentoring to the young people aged between 12 and 18 years.

“The Olympics has played a big part in sparking interest and we'll work with Little Athletics to get more young people involved in sport,” he said.

“And the Jump Start to London Program is a fantastic activity . . . it's run by Athletics Australia, the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport . . . and Sharon McGrady will be here to answer all the questions the kids and their parents may wish to ask.”

Donovan and his team have arranged for Olympic discus competitor Benn Harradine to make the camp his first port of call after stepping off the plane from Beijing.

Harradine became the first Indigenous field athlete to gain Olympic selection after breaking Werner Reiterer's 29-year-old record with a throw of 66.37 metres during competition in the United States.

This new benchmark also placed him in the World Top 20 rankings for the first time.

“Benn will be accompanied by his father Ken and brother Luke, both highly respected in athletics, and one of my best mates, Jacko Whitby, will be coming across from Perth where he was named Western Australia's 'Coach of the Year' in 2004,” he added.

Also named on the coaching panel are star athletes Kyle Vander-Kuyp, Josh Ross and Otis Gowa.

Limited vacancies remain for the camp with enquiries to be made with Richie Donovan on (02) 6569 7022 after 6pm.