sA MRI scan, a CT investigation, try what he willed, Dominic Overend couldn't resolve the source of an unusual pain. All the Auckland Grammar sprinter knew was something was seriously wrong after a 200m race in Sydney in April last year.
“I was competing at the Australian Champs and started the 200m in the lead before something kinda snapped and I was unable to finish,” Overend recalls.
“At first I thought I had torn a hamstring or done my Achilles, but when I went to see the doctors they didn’t know what it was either. The pain would come and go,” he continued.
Weeks of confusion ensued until the problem was finally diagnosed.
“A bit of bone in my right heel had overgrown, which put strain on my foot especially when turning corners. I had surgery and was in a moonboot for two months,” Overend reveals.
Negotiating bends in the 200m became troublesome so Overend made a decision to temporarily abort that discipline.
Last weekend, Overend returned to the site of his injury to compete in the U20 Australian championships in the 100m, an event by default which has become his exclusive focus. The results have been spectacular.
“I ran 10.75 in the heat, which was a good start and consistent with the times I had been running recently. I had run 10.73 at the central west zone championships, but that didn’t count because of the wind which was unlucky,” Overend says.
The New Zealand U17 record was broken by Overend in the heats. Dalton Coppins mark of 10.78 set in 2012 was passed. An even better result awaited in the final.
“I ran 10.59. The conditions were perfect. It was still and everything clicked,” Overend enthuses.
Overend’s time in Sydney ranks him the second fastest sprinter in the country this year behind senior National champion Joseph Miller whose 25.
Overend returned from his injury less than a month out from the National Secondary School Championships in December. He ran 10.99 which would have been fast enough to win the Junior title, but come Hastings he was even quicker.
“I ran 10.83 at Nationals, which was a record. That was pretty satisfying given my poor build up,” Overend reflects.
Due to the hot conditions in Hastings, sprint finals were brought forward two hours. However, Overend was initially unaware of this fact and was only told about it 20 minutes before his final by senior champion Nick Smith of Hutt Valley High School, giving him a rushed preparation time.
The North Island Secondary School championships are in Wanganui on April 6, but Overend may pass chasing a bigger target.
“The Melanesian Regional Championships are in Vanuatu in May. If I can finish in the top two in my region at that event, I will qualify for the Youth Olympics in Argentina in October,” Overend divulges.
Anywhere between 10.60 and 10.85 can be expected to be the qualifying time for the 100m at the Youth Olympics. The 2014 champion, Sydney Siame from Zambia run 10.57. Odean Skeen from Jamaica was quicker four years earlier setting a pace of 10.42
Note: Katrina Robinson was the most impressive female age group performer in Sydney. She cut eight seconds off her previous best 3000m time in finishing second in 9:03.84 to break her own New Zealand under 18 record and establish fresh records for under 19 and under 20 New Zealand records. Her under 18 record was 9:12.18 set in Brisbane in February, and she erased Rosa Flanagan’s under 19 2015 record of 9:07.85 and Sue Bruce’s 1984 under 20 record of 9:05.95. Robinson who also holds the under 17 record now holds all the junior grades 3000m New Zealand records
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